Research Briefing | Mar 1, 2023

APAC’s leading cities show big variations in relative strengths

APAC's leading cities show big variations in relative strengths

Tokyo is easily the largest Asia Pacific city by GDP, but the big four Chinese cities are catching up. We forecast that Tokyo’s economy will be overtaken by Shanghai in 2033, and by Beijing in 2036. But that does not imply that either Tokyo or China’s leading cities are top dogs in Asia Pacific. Incomes per head in Singapore are two and a half times the average for the Chinese big four. In Sydney they are higher again, and in Hong Kong they are nearly four times higher than in neighbouring Shenzhen. There is more than one way to measure a city’s economic importance.

What you will learn:

  • Over the next five years, Shenzhen and Guangzhou will have the advantage of rising populations of people aged 15-64, contradicting the popular view that everywhere in mainland China is suffering from a demographic squeeze.
  • We also project a growing working age population in Sydney. However, in terms of educational attainment, Seoul looks to be in a stronger position than Sydney, as does Tokyo.
  • But Sydney scores highly in terms of foreign-born population, which is often seen as a positive indicator of economic competitiveness.
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