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Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future 2015

Singapore has triumphed in this year’s ranking of cities across the Asia-Pacific region, with Tokyo rising through the ranks to take second place and Taipei following in third position.

Traditionally a strong performer in FDI, Singapore has ranked first of all Asian cities in fDi’s Asia-Pacific Cities of the Future 2015/16 ranking, for the third time in a row. Singapore attracted 7.3% of all inward investment in the Asia-Pacific region between 2003 and September 2015. 

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More and more international investors are discovering Canberra. Ours is a smart city and a cool one – Andrew Barr, chief minister, treasurer and minister for economic development

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However, the 2015/16 ranking was shaken-up as Tokyo rose from ninth place in 2013/14 to clinch second place. The city performed well in many of this year’s categories as overall winner of megacities, topping Economic Potential for megacities and coming in first place in the Connectivity category for all sizes. Tokyo bucked downward global trends in 2014, attracting a peak number of FDI projects. In total, 96 investments were made according to crossborder investment monitor fDi Markets, with projects coming from some major global investors.

DHL Express, a subsidiary company of Germany-based logistics company Deutsche Post, invested €67m to relocate and expand a new gateway in Tokyo, which is due to come online in the first quarter of 2016. The company credited the investment decision to the country’s “remarkable economic recovery”, which will provide it with opportunities for further growth. The majority of investments into in the city came from US-based companies, with 474 US projects recorded between 2003 and September 2015.

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What the world is now seeing is a confident Brisbane – a powerhouse in the Asia-Pacific region and a leading destination for business investment – Graham Quirk, Brisbane lord mayor

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Companies from the UK invested in 86 projects during this period, while German companies were the source of 67 investments. Software and IT services attracted the highest number of projects in Tokyo by sector, accounting for 32%, followed by business services (13%) and financial services (12%).

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Taipei is a happening place where industries and financials converge, cultural and artistic talents are celebrated – Ko Wen Je, mayor of Taipei

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Tokyo's IT strength

With a culture of high technology, Tokyo lends itself to IT investment – US-based internet company Cisco Systems established an innovation lab in the Japanese capital in 2014, chalking its investment decision up to the country’s history of innovation and Japan’s position as a global leader in technology. In total, 90.58% of the Japanese population are online, the highest of any country analysed. Japan performed well in the Networked Readiness Index from the World Economic Forum and Tokyo enjoys very high upload and download speeds, helping the city rank first in the Connectivity category. Tokyo is easily accessible with two international airports and six ports in its environs. 

Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, increased from sixth position in the 2013/14 ranking, to finish third in 2015/16, topping the ranking of mid-sized Asia-Pacific cities, as well as the Business Friendliness and Economic Potential categories of mid-sized city rankings. Taipei has a healthy economy, with a GDP per capita of 44,173 international dollars. The city is a hotbed for innovation, with 24,280 patents recorded between 2010 and 2014, the third highest of all cities in the study.

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We plan to continue to develop Tokyo as a global financial centre to support even greater economic growth beyond the Tokyo 2020 Games – Yoichi Masuzoe, governor of Tokyo

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Taipei offers investors a well-educated workforce, with high rates of secondary (100%) and tertiary (83.4%) enrolment. Minimum wage is low in the country, at just $3.80 per hour, while investors also enjoy low costs to establish a business, low export and import costs ($655 and $720 per container, respectively), low property registration costs and relatively cheap construction permits. In total, 109 international destinations are served by the city’s two international airports – Taipei Songshan Airport and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport. 

FDI strategy 

Queensland’s most populous city, Brisbane, has beaten 2013/14’s champion Hong Kong to first place in the FDI Strategy category. Runner-up in our previous survey, Brisbane impressed the judging panel with its commitment to and flair for FDI attraction. Brisbane Marketing, the city’s official agency for inward investment, devised Brisbane 2022 New World City Action Plan, a report highlighting seven key economic priorities and more than 100 recommendations to propel the city towards economic and urban success.

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Auckland Council’s ambitious economic growth strategies and programmes are focused on key growth sectors – Len Brown, Auckland mayor 

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As part of the plan, the city’s Asia-Pacific Headquarters Strategy places an importance on promoting Brisbane as a key destination for companies’ Asia headquarters. 

The Tourism Infrastructure and Hotel Investment Strategy puts a focus on attracting FDI that will bolster the tourism industry, targeting tourism and infrastructure projects such as cruise ship terminals and hotels.

Brisbane Marketing works with prospective clients, helping them find funding, arranging visits to potential investment sites and providing access to utilities. 

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Perth is a dynamic capital city committed to playing a significant role in international and regional relationships focused on economic growth – Lisa-M Scaffidi, Perth lord mayor        

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Brisbane is promoted via a range of online platforms and websites, while also optimising social media to stretch its reach effectively. Its Weibo site, a social networking site in China, exclusively targets students, investors and bolsters the tourism sector, targeting the about 100 million Chinese tourists.

Hong Kong's strong presence

2013/14’s winner of the FDI Strategy category, Hong Kong is placed second in this year’s ranking. Invest Hong Kong has a strong worldwide presence, with 13 economic and trade offices around the world. Those locations not currently serviced by one of these offices are accessed by one of the 14 external consultant companies strategically located around the world. 

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Sydney’s high ranking across the areas of lifestyle, economic potential and investment strategy is testament to its place as a global city – Stuart Ayres, New South Wales minister for trade, tourism and major events

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Hong Kong’s Innovation and Technology Fund has been in place since 1999, and has funded more than 4600 projects in R&D. The investment promotion agency actively encourages start-ups with the StartmeupHK initiative, a platform that shares resources with local and overseas start-up communities abroad.

Tokyo placed third in the FDI Strategy category this year. Judges were impressed with the city’s 10-year timetable to transform Tokyo into a leading global financial centre and investment hub, through the creation of international business centres, a global life sciences hub and a National Strategic Special Zone system. 

Foshan, a prefecture-level city in the south of China, placed fourth in the FDI Strategy category. Foshan Investment Promotion Agency showed initiative in its efforts to attract FDI and was the first unit of the Chinese government to directly hire foreign professionals, with “language skills and intimate knowledge of foreign markets” to boost its FDI prospects.

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This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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