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GLOBALOUTLOOK GLOBAL CITIES OF THE FUTURE


Global Cities of the Future 2021/22


Winners


SINGAPORE CONFIRMS ITS TOP SPOT IN fDi’S GLOBAL CITIES OF THE FUTURE RANKING. AIDEEN DUFFY REPORTS


eign direct investment (FDI) as a whole, Singapore has held onto its top spot in the Global Cities of the Future ranking for the fourth time in a row. London has also retained sec- ond place and Dubai has come in third. It has been a tumultuous year for FDI flows, with Singapore seeing much slower growth in inward FDI compared to London and Dubai, but still retaining its excellence across the board.


A


Maximising potential Singapore has triumphed in both the economic potential and business friendliness categories. With low tax rates and generous research grants, Singapore has long positioned itself as one of the world’s most innovative cities, having also ranked in the top 30 cities for innovation inKnight and Frank’s recent global innovation report. Singapore recorded the most FDI in research and development (R&D) between 2015 and 2020 at $210m, surpassing other cities by a significant margin. The city-state has curated a thriv- ing R&D ecosystem, with more than


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mid what has been a particu- larly challenging period for the global economy and for-


150 venture capital funds, incubators and accelerators and thousands of start-ups. In June 2020 the Singaporean government announced the creation of a new ‘Digital Office’, focusing on digital services across the city. Singapore’s president Halimah Yacob also announced plans to ‘push for green financing and sustainable infrastructure development’. The city is certainly suggesting that its path to post-pandemic economic recovery lies in increasing digitalisation and driving forward the green economy.


Holding strong London has held on to second place with an impressive inward FDI count of $2.6bn between 2015 and 2020. Londontopped theMegacities overall ranking, and ranked well in the HumanCapital and Lifestyle category —both overall and in size division. TheUKcapital benefits frommul-


tiple world-class universities, in addi- tion to being part of the ‘Golden Triangle’ with Cambridge and Oxford. Between 2015 and 2020, Londonattracted the highestamount of inward FDI — overtaking Singapore, which ranked top for inward FDI in the previous ranking. It was also a record year for ven-


ture capital funding into the city, with Dealroom.com reporting that London tech companies raised more than $10.5bn in 2020, more than any other European city. The City of London recently published its five- year post-Covid recovery plan, which indicates that it hopes to have a ‘green’ recovery, particularly focused on green finance and fintech. However, with the recent Brexit deal effectively leaving the finance sector out in the cold, questions will have to be answered on whether London can retain its standing as one of the world’s leading locations for finan- cial services.


Movingup Dubai has moved up three places since 2018/2019, achieving third place in this year’s ranking. The Dubai Plan 2021, which was launched in 2014, seems to have been successful in making the city a piv- otal hub in the global economy. The city is set to announce its next five- year plan in the coming months. Dubai’s favourable tax rates, free zones and well-educated workforce have proven highly attractive to many businesses. Matching both Singapore and London, Dubai has


www.fDiIntelligence.com February/March 2021


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