Cities of opportunity

Ranking business-friendly cities

New York, Tokyo, Paris—or somewhere else. Which of the world’s cities is the friendliest to business? That’s just one question explored in detail by the Partnership for New York City and PwC in the annual Cities of Opportunity report.1 The study analyzes how 26 cities—hubs of finance, commerce, and culture—performed as centers of business, based on 66 variables in 10 indicator areas.

One telling indicator is Ease of Doing Business, which examined factors such as: Ease of starting a business, Ease of hiring, Rigidity of working hours, Ease of firing, Ease of entry, Flexibility of visa travel, Foreign embassies or consulates, Operational risk climate, and Workforce management risk. The leaders in the Ease of Doing Business category were Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, and London. (See Figure.)

The study found that the biggest determinant for business investment was a combination of flexible labor policies, openness to the rest of the world, and the ease of starting and maintaining an enterprise (which embraces the stability of a city’s fiscal and regulatory environment).

When looking at all the indicators in the study together, the five top-ranked cities are New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney. To explore the study in greater detail, visit

Ease of Doing Business rankings

1 Partnership for New York City and PwC, Cities of Opportunity, 2011.