Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mumbai to be ranked 7th global city in 10 years!

Don’t know if you caught this story in today’s Mint. It’s an early release of some highlights of a report titled The Wealth Report 2011 produced by Knight Frank and Citi Private Bank. The report’s scheduled release date is today, 6th April.....the newspaper only gives a couple of juicy stats that build on the already significant hype around India!

Just two data points have been put out in the paper. One is about future business (list 2) and the other is about global cities (list 1). Both provide extremely important and interesting points to gloat about!

The first list is the list of top “global cities” – I guess it’s a list of cities which are best to live in and would therefore include many variables apart from just business and economic growth. It’s interesting that Mumbai is ranked 7th in this list in 10 years time. At the top of the list continues to be New York followed by London at #2, Shanghai at #3, Beijing at #4, Hong Kong at #5, Singapore at #6 and then Mumbai at #7. Mumbai is trailed by Tokyo at #8, Paris at #9, Moscow at #10, Dubai at #11, Sao Paulo at #12, Zurich at #13, Geneva at #14 and Washington DC at #15. Berlin, Sydney, LA, Seoul and San Francisco make up the last 5. Shanghai, Beijing and Mumbai have moved up a few notches; while Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo have moved down.

The second is a list of the top cities for entrepreneurs. In many ways, this list is a list of the best cities to do business in, in the future. It’s a list which tells you where the economic future of the world is getting created. This list is topped by Shanghai followed by Hong Kong at #2, Beijing at #3, New York at #4 and Mumbai at #5. Mumbai is followed by Singapore at #6, London at #7, Sao Paulo at #8, San Francisco at #9, Palo Alto at #10, Dubai at #11, Rio at #12, Moscow at #13, Sydney at #14 and Delhi at #15(our 2nd entry!). Istanbul, Jakarta, Lagos, Dallas and Bangalore (our 3rd entry!) make up the last 5 in this list.

Now, if you have been reading my blog, you would already know that I am a huge believer in the future opportunities that exist for India. The 2nd list indicates that amply. Three of the top 20 cities are from India. Just two are from China. This is not new. But every re-affirmation of this truth needs to be brought out and used as a motivator for the entire country.

Some of the other facts that emerge from the two lists are:

1)      The new centers of business are clearly in Asia. In the top 10 cities, 5 are from Asia. Three are from India and China, the other two being the old war horses, HK and Singapore.
2)      BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) as a grouping does quite well in list 2. Sao Paulo, Rio and Moscow are in the top 15.....making BRICS the strongest group for entrepreneurship......7 out of 15 top cities coming from the BRICS grouping.
3)      Very interesting are names such as San Francisco and Palo Alto in the top 10....indicating the US will still retain an edge in IT (hardware and software). But equally interesting that these two are not in the top 5. Clearly tells you that the centers of entrepreneurship will shift to India and China from the US.
4)      However, while the axis of entrepreneurship shifts to Asia, the best global cities will still remain NY and London even ten years later. There is a reason for this. These cities are truly global cities in the sense that they are cultural melting pots (apart from being great centers for business). People from (literally) all around the world live in these cities; adding their bits to the culture of these cities. What strikes you the most is the multiplicity of languages spoken on the street and the variety of cuisines available all over. But there are other reasons why these cities remain global magnets even after they have become less attractive for entrepreneurs. They stand for all things modern and liberal.....freedom of speech, equal treatment to women, rule of law, a certain degree of civility in public behavior and have people who have good manners! These are all softer aspects of modernity. This is where we have a huge amount of catching up to do. Again, as I have explained in earlier posts.....it’s normal for a city and country to take longer to catch up on cultural aspects than on economic ones.....What we should aspire for is to become the #1 globally 20 years from now. Here we have a clear advantage over China. Shanghai and Beijing have better infrastructure than Bombay or Delhi.....but they don’t have the democratic climate required to foster art and creativity. Culture needs freedom of thought; and an appreciating modern audience. China simply cannot offer that.

The real truth is a repetition of what I have said so many times! It’s that we are well set-up to take our place in the top rankings around the world in the next 10-20 years time. Let’s just stay focused!

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