Kuala Lumpur slips three spots to No. 20 in PwC's 'Cities of Opportunity' rankings

Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 7): Kuala Lumpur slipped three spots to 20th out of 30 leading cities globally in this year’s "Cities of Opportunity" benchmarking, developed by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), released today.

London claims pole position in overall rankings at No 1, with Singapore in second place — up from third since PwC’s last study in 2014. Toronto follows at third place, with Paris coming in fourth.

In a statement today, PwC said PwC’s Cities of Opportunity report measures 30 cities across 10 indicators, including transportation and infrastructure, ease of doing business, demographics and liveability, technology readiness and cost. In addition to the overall ranking, the study also ranks cities against each of the 10 indicators.

The report also takes a look at urban risk and resilience, recognising the rising stakes of disaster with cities facing increasing exposure to extreme weather, man-made threats like cyber attacks and terrorism, as well as disease, it added.

In terms of cost of living or improved affordability, Kuala Lumpur moved up to fifth place this year and rose one spot for ease of doing business to No 10 since 2014.

"While we are stable in the areas we have always been known for such as cost and ease of doing business, much can still be done to improve our status as a global business hub," said PwC.

"In terms of ease of doing business, Kuala Lumpur still trails behind other Asian cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong. In terms of demographics and liveability, New York and Paris have improved significantly, sharing first place in this study.

"Tokyo, while being the most vulnerable city to natural disaster, is the best prepared to meet its risks, outperforming all other cities in natural disaster preparedness," it added.

PwC said this year’s performance is also proof Kuala Lumpur needs to work harder, smarter and together to improve its standing as a city of opportunity.

Cities included in the report were Amsterdam, Beijing, Berlin, Bogotá, Chicago, Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto.

“Cities need a combination of social and economic strengths to succeed. To put us on a firm path towards inclusive growth, we should refocus our energies on creating opportunities for middle income households, addressing the increasing cost of living and promoting a dynamic and vibrant small and medium enterprise (SME) sector," said PwC Malaysia executive director of economics advisory, Patrick Tay.

“While we have a robust pool of talent — finishing 10th place in working age population — moving our economy up the value chain calls for a more holistic strategy to attract and retain knowledge workers.

"Investing in initiatives to improve liveability and quality of life is one of the ways to help us achieve this. The River of Life project, mass rapid transit and world-class urban parks are needed to enhance the quality of life in Kuala Lumpur,” he added.   

Tay pointed out that businesses depend on the city’s wellbeing and governments on healthy economies for shared success.

"The authorities need to have fortitude to invest, implement and enforce the standards necessary to address the critical issues holding us back from progress like transportation, safety, affordable housing and education.

“Quality of living is not a luxury. It’s a basic requirement for cities and businesses to keep and cultivate talent. To move out of our average spot in competitiveness rankings, what’s needed is a concerted strategy by the public and private sectors to capitalise on Kuala Lumpur’s strength as a city gateway into the regional and global economy," he said. —

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