Singapore ranked 3rd in study of global cities

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[SINGAPORE] The Republic has come in third in the sixth edition of PwC's Cities of Opportunity study, finishing behind London and New York. Singapore also scored as the top Asian city.

The study which analyses the development of 30 global cities gauges their performance over a variety of indicators.

Singapore was tops for two of the 10 indicators used to assess performance - ease of doing business, and transportation and infrastructure.

Other indicators include technology readiness, demographics and livability, cost, and intellectual capital and innovation.

Each indicator is further made up of a range of more specific variables. For example, Singapore's top ranking for ease of doing business comprises a similar top ranking for three of the eight variables involved.

Singapore's leap up the rankings did not happen by chance, said Yee Chen Fah, who leads PwC Singapore's government and public services practice and is an audit partner in the assurance division.

"Singapore has always been at the forefront of coming up with policies and the improvement has a lot to do with forward planning. City planning is very important - there is only so much space that we have in Singapore, and we have to decide where to build what," Mr Yee told BT.

He emphasised the continued importance of forward planning, especially with regard to some of the indicators where Singapore performed less well.

"We need to ensure that our environment remains conducive to doing business, and the costs of operating and living in Singapore are things we constantly have to grapple with," Mr Yee said.

This attitude of not resting on one's laurels was noted by Hazem Galal, PwC's global leader for cities and local government networks, as one of the reasons for Singapore's success as a city.

"What's important about the Singaporean way of thinking is that there is a culture of continuous learning and improvement," said Mr Galal, who was in the team that produced the report.

"There's never a sense of 'we've reached the top and we're okay now'. When I encounter Singaporean delegations on my travels I see that they can always find one or two things to learn from anyone."

Mr Galal added that socioeconomic balance is key to any city's success, citing New York as the best example of a city that performed well consistently across most indicators. New York was ranked second in the study despite not finishing first for any of the indicators.

The 30 cities analysed in the study were selected to be geographically representative and to ensure a good mix of cities from emerging and developed countries.

They also have to be global or regional capitals of business, finance or culture.

The full report can be accessed at www.pwc.com/cities.

Source: Business Times, 3 Jun 2014