Best World Cities for Business

Business consultants AT Kearney have released their annual Best Cities for Business Report and we take a look at the top twenty-one cities.

Working Away from Home

Whatever floats your boat you can be sure that there is a city somewhere in the world in which you will feel very much at home.

But what happens when the last thing you want to feel is like you are at home, when there is work to be done, objectives to be achieved and targets to be met.

What are the best cities to work in?

A new report has shown that when it comes to business, not all cities are created equal – some places have more impact on global business, culture and politics than others. So, what are the world’s best cities for business?

Management consultancy firm A.T. Kearney has published its annual Global Cities Report,
looking at which cities around the world are becoming more competitive, and what the driving forces behind their success are.

The reports examines a wide range variables and categorises the cities based on their level of business activity, culture, human capital, political engagement and information exchange, each city’s score is then totalled before being ranked.

London came in number two behind New York, which is also the most expensive city to do business in. Both cities scored much higher than their closest rivals.

The top 21 cities are spread around the world but despite the assumption that Asia is where the world is doing business it is destinations in Europe that dominate the list.

1. New York, USA

Home of Wall Street and the United Nations, New York City the city that never sleeps, so good that they named it twice is probably the world’s most important city, maintaining its top spot in the list for a second year.

2. London, UK

Who knows what impact Brexit will have on London or the UK economy but for the moment the city remains the world’s second-most-influential city, ranked some way ahead of its closest rival. There is a lot on offer in London that makes it a great place for international meetings and corporate events.

3. Paris, France

The French capital is best known for its art, architecture and fashion – but according to A.T. Kearney’s 2019 Global Cities Index, it’s a great place to think as well, the city has more think tanks than any other.

4. Tokyo, Japan

Japan’s Capital has 37 million people which according to Bloomberg made it the biggest city in the world in 2018. Unfortunately, although everyone is very polite very few people speak English.

Expect the number of people in this sprawling metropolis to swell in 2020 when the city will host the Olympic summer games.

5. Hong Kong SAR China

Recent troubles aside Hong Kong is a welcoming city that sometimes feels like a western city with a big China Town.

Not surprisingly for a city that has close historical ties to the United Kingdom almost everyone speaks English.

Hong Kong is one of Asia’s biggest financial centres, and a hub for doing business in the Far East, especially China.

6. Singapore,

Singapore is a city state that feels like it was founded to made doing business easy.

Despite being a logistics hub with one of the largest container port in the world the city, and a major focal point for the oil industry amongst others the city does not feel industrial.

7. Los Angeles, USA

Mention Los Angeles, California and it is show business that comes to mind, but the glamour associated with the movies attracts a lot of other business. Add to that a large Latino population and it is easy to see why this Californian city has become a centre for American trade with both Asia and South America.

8. Chicago, USA

Historically Chicago was where the United States and then the world traded commodities like wheat, corn and bacon.

Today world commodity prices are still determined by trading on the Chicago commodity exchanges, some of which are the biggest in the world.

Chicago is also home to Harpo Studios and the media empire owned by Oprah Winfrey.

9. Beijing, China

China is the world’s second-largest economy so it is not surprising to find the Chinese capital in this list although some people might have expected it to be higher placed.

Beijing provides both the centre of political power and a commercial hub that competes with the long established Hong Kong and the coastal city of Shanghai.

Beijing is also home to more companies in the Global Fortune 500 than any other world city.

It is important to remember that Chinese businesses of all types and sizes traditionally close for cultural events and national holidays, often for the whole week!

10. Washington, D.C, USA

The capital of the United States’ is often seen as a hub for important political institutions, like the White House and the Capitol. The city also hosts international institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

But, on the basis that it’s always good to be close to your customers there is also a large community of businesses focused on supplying the Government, and US and international N.G.O.

11. Sydney, Australia

The majority of cities in the AT Kearney list are in the northern hemisphere. Of the cities in the southern half of the planet Sydney is considered by many to be most important.

The city with the famous bridge and opera house is also considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world, so expect the working day to conclude on the beach with a BBQ and a beer.

12. Brussels, Belgium

Like Washington D.C. in the USA Brussels is a political centre, in this case for the European Union.

Just as with the US capital this means Brussels has also built a thriving business community both to service the political machinery and to sell to it.

If you are visiting do not forget to sample the products created by the country’s chocolatiers.

13. Seoul, South Korea

Often overlooked South Korea’s capital is a capital of real global importance.

Korea is home to many companies and brands that are often thought of as being Japanese, but brands such as Samsung, LG and Kia are 100% Korean.

14. Berlin, Germany

Following the unification of East and West Germany it was important to the Germany to build a capital in Berlin that played a prominent role in Europe and the World.

Despite competition from other German cities like Bonn, Frankfurt and Munich, Berlin is proving to be one of the most influential cities in the world.

15. Madrid, Spain

It is easy to dismiss Spain as having a tourism based economy, but the country and it’s capital are a major hub for commerce between Europe and the Spanish-speaking world.

It is no surprise that the easiest way to get from Europe to South America is often via Madrid.

16. Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is famous as the home of Australia’s soap opera industry.

But the city has a wide range of industries.

Melbourne is according to the 2019 Global Cities Index the top place for international students.

17. Toronto, Canada

Toronto may be cold in winter, but the warmth of the Canadian welcome is constant.

Often used as a stand-in for American cities in films and TV series like Suits in which a certain British Duchess once stared the city is also a thriving commercial hub.

Amongst many other claims to fame Toronto is home to North America’s third-largest stock exchange by market capitalisation.

18. Moscow, Russia

Some people may be surprised to see the Russian capital city included in this list.

Russia has a reputation for ways of doing business that are difficult for outsiders to understand, and work with.

However, the capital of the world’s largest country is developing and Moscow continues to increase its global footprint.

19. Shanghai, China

Shanghai is the Chinese mainland’s main financial centre.

The city is also a hub for all sorts of industries with more containers passing through the city’s container port than any other port in the world.

Although China is becoming increasingly international and open to differ ways of doing business it remains at heart a very traditional society in which it is important to follow the rules of social and business etiquette.

20. Amsterdam, Netherlands

A growing economy has helped to push the Dutch city up two places in this years rankings.

Much of the cities commercial activities are based in the suburbs far away from the tourist sites around the canal areas.

21. Boston, USA

Boston the city that is famous for it’s no taxation without representation tea parties and the hit bar set TV series Cheers has according to A.T. Kearney’s risen three places in the Global Cities Index in the last twelve months.


The majority of the cities in the top twenty are in the northern hemisphere.

But, it is surprising that there are no cities in the top twenty from South America, Africa or the Middle East.

Perhaps there is an opportunity for cities all over the world to up their game?