Beijing, sometimes also referred to as Peking, is the political, cultural and educational centre of China. The majestic Forbidden City stands as a symbol of ancient grandeur, while the bustling hutongs offer a glimpse into traditional Chinese life amidst a backdrop of modern skyscrapers and technological innovation.

But how does Beijing fare in rankings that measure economic and sustainability performance, city brand strength and reputation?

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Economic competitiveness and financial performance
  • City brand strength and global attractiveness
  • Livability: its appeal for talent, locals, visitors

Beijing’s competitiveness and financial performance

The Global Financial Centres Index 34 ranks Beijing 13th, currently sitting between Shenzhen (12th) and Frankfurt (14th). It also ranked as the 13th centre most likely to become more significant in the near future. Moreover, the city holds a strong standing in the following areas of competitiveness: Business Environment (5th), Financial Sector Development (8th), Human Capital (9th), Infrastructure (9th), and Reputational & General (9th). It also performs very well in the following industry sectors: Banking (4th), Investment Management (5th), Finance (5th), Trading (5th), and Insurance (6th). Overall, Beijing holds the sixth place in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023 Beijing dropped nine positions from the previous ranking and now holds the 28th position. It sits in between Milan (27th) and Vancouver (29th).

City brand strength and global attractiveness

Resonance’s 2023 World’s Best Cities Report ranks Beijing 18th, scoring 10th for Google Search and 13th for the topic of University. It currently sits in between Washington D.C. (17th) and Istanbul (19th).

Beijing continues to rank 5th according to Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report. It ranks 39th for the Global Cities Outlook, a drop in 12 positions from the previous ranking.

The Global Power City Index ranks it 17th, just after Stockholm (16th) and before Hong Kong (18th). In terms of function-specific rankings, the city ranks 3rd in terms of Economy, 12th in R&D, 19th in Cultural Interaction, 31st in Livability, 39th in Environment, and 40th in Accessibility.

According to Brand Finance’s City Index 2023, Beijing ranks 58th in the global ranking with a score of 63.2/100, sitting in between Marseille (57th) and Mexico City (59th).

Livability: appeal for talent, locals, visitors

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking places Beijing 126th, between Sofia (125th), Rabat and Tel Aviv (both at 127th). The Mercer Cost of Living Ranking ranks it 13th, a drop of three positions from the previous ranking. It now sits between Shanghai (12th) and San Francisco (14th). The cost living survey reports that factors such as currency fluctuations, cost inflation for goods and services, and instability of accommodation prices are key to determine the cost of expat packages for employees on international assignment.

The Arcadis Sustainability City Index 2022 ranks Beijing 73rd overall, between Bangkok (72nd) and Istanbul (74th).

Lastly, Beijing is home to some of the best universities in the world. According to The Times Higher Education ranking, Tsinghua University ranks 12th, and Peking University 14th. The QS World University ranking positions Tsinghua University 25th, and Peking University 17th.

Last updated in January 2024. More city profiles here.

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