Is your city truly a global city? Check out the list below to find out.

A global city, also called world city or sometimes alpha city or world center, is a city generally considered to be an important node in the global economic system. The concept comes from geography and urban studies and rests on the idea that globalization can be understood as largely created, facilitated, and enacted in strategic geographic locales according to a hierarchy of importance to the operation of the global system of finance and trade. Basically, a global city is a well-known international city with great urban surrounding and a major commercial hub with high economy that impacts not only its country but also the world.

‘Global city’ is different with ‘Mega city’ as the latter defines a city that houses very massive population and is not necessarily a global economic point. Global city status is considered to be beneficial and desired, and because of this, many groups have tried to classify and rank which cities are seen as world cities or non-world cities. The following are the criterias used mainly by those groups out there in classifying cities around the world in global city ranking;

  • A variety of international financial services, notably in finance, insurance, real estate, banking, accountancy, and marketing.
  • Headquarters of several multinational corporations.
  • The existence of financial headquarters, a stock exchange and major financial institutions.
  • Domination of the trade and economy of a large surrounding area.
  • Major manufacturing centres with port and container facilities.
  • Considerable decision-making power on a daily basis and at a global level.
  • Centres of new ideas and innovation in business, economics, culture and politics.
  • Centres of media and communications for global networks.
  • Dominance of the national region with great international significance.
  • High percentage of residents employed in the services sector and information sector.
  • High-quality educational institutions, including renowned universities, international student attendance and research facilities.
  • Multi-functional infrastructure offering some of the best legal, medical and entertainment facilities in the country.

In 2012, Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) updated a list that identifies three levels of global cities and several sub-ranks and the list is published in 2014. The categories / levels in the list are:

  • Alpha++ cities are London and New York City, which are vastly more integrated with the global economy than all other cities.
  • Alpha+ cities complement London and New York City by filling advanced service niches for the global economy.
  • Alpha and Alpha- cities are cities that link major economic regions into the world economy.
  • Beta level cities are cities that link moderate economic regions into the world economy.
  • Gamma level cities are cities that link smaller economic regions into the world economy.
  • Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be obviously dependent on world cities.

So, here’s below is the list. Did your city made it to the alpha? (Click on the image below to view clearly on the list of cities listed:



I’m quite excited that my city, Kuala Lumpur (KL) made it to the alpha level and that is considered very good. KL is no doubt a major economic centre in the region besides than the nearby Singapore (which is better of course). We are even ahead of Seoul (I guess Seoul will most probably overtaken us in the future ranking very soon), Jakarta, Bangkok, Taipei, and Melbourne. A recent view of the KL city below (amazing photograph):



(Source:, from


However, KL still needs to improve on a lot of things (public transport, facilities, etc) and need to attract more investors, business partners and companies to come in to enhance its role as a commercial powerhouse in Asia. There are three other Malaysian cities listed in the ranking too (under the Sufficiency category only) and they are Penang, Johor Bahru and Labuan. There are many other lists like Global Cities Index by American journal ‘Foreign Policy’, Global Economic Power Index from ‘The Atlantic’, Global Power City Index by Tokyo’s Institute for Urban Strategies, City Wealth Report by London’s estate agent, Global City Competitiveness Index by ‘The Economist Group’, etc out there and KL didn’t really perform that well in those list. KL has to work hard to improve in these kind of crucial rankings. If not, we will be outpaced by other emerging cities quickly.

Information sources:


2. &


One Response to “Is your city truly a global city? Check out the list below to find out.”

  1. singapore real estate exchange

    Is your city truly a global city? Check out the list below to find out. | My Blog City by Vincent Loy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: