Seoul City Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is a metropolis where the modern, high-tech and pop culture blend with the traditional street markets, Buddhist temples and palaces. As the business and financial hub of the country, it is also an up-and-coming global cultural capital. But how is Seoul performing in terms of reputation and influence, business attractiveness and sustainability?

Let’s explore deeper how Seoul positions itself on the world stage, drawing insights from data provided by TPBO partners and other reputable institutions.

Let’s take a closer look at:

  • Seoul’s competitiveness and financial performance
  • Seoul’s brand strength and global attractiveness
  • Livability: Seoul’s appeal for digital nomads and locals

Seoul’s competitiveness and financial performance

How attractive is Seoul as a place to work and do business? 

The Global Financial Centres Index 34 ranks Seoul 11th, dropping one position from the previous ranking. It is currently sitting between Geneva (10th) and Shenzhen (12th). Seoul ranked as the 1st center most likely to become more significant. The city holds a strong standing in the following areas of competitiveness: Human Capital (8th), Infrastructure (8th), Reputational & General (8th), and Financial Sector Development (14th). It also performs very well in the following industry sectors: Professional Services (5th), Government & Regulatory (5th), Trading (6th), and Insurance (13th). Seoul holds the forth place in the Asia-Pacific region, sitting in between Shanghai and Shenzhen.

According to 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023 Seoul ranks 8th, a drop of one position from the previous ranking.


Seoul’s brand strength and global attractiveness 

Which subfactors hurt and help the brand of Seoul

Resonance’s 2023 World’s Best Cities Report ranks Seoul 10th, scoring the following in the Place Power Score subfactors: 8th in Prosperity, 31st in Lovability, and 26th in Livability. It also ranks the following Place Power Highlights: 3rd for restaurants and 8th for museums. It currently sits in between Amsterdam (9th) and Rome (11th).

Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report ranks Seoul in 14th, a drop of one position from the previous ranking. Seoul also ranks 14th for the Global Cities Outlook, an impressive jump of 22 positions from the previous ranking.

The comprehensive ranking of the Global Power City Index ranks Seoul 7th. In terms of function-specific rankings, the city ranks 15th in terms of Economy, 6th in R&D, 11th in Cultural Interaction, 36th in Livability, 14th in Environment, and 20th in Accessibility. Lastly, Seoul positioned 32nd in the Highly-skilled Workers, 22nd in the Corporate Executive, 24th in the Resident, and 15th in the Tourism categories.

According to Brand Finance’s City Index 2023, Seoul ranks 42nd in the global ranking with a score of 67.6/100, sitting in between Hong Kong (41st) and Lisbon (43rd).


Livability: Seoul’s appeal for digital nomads and locals

Which aspects of Seoul’s urban living make it an attractive place to live, work and study?

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking places Seoul 81st, sitting between Budapest (80th) and Taipei (82nd). The Mercer Cost of Living Ranking ranks Seoul 16th, a drop of two positions from the previous ranking. It now sits between Honolulu (15th) and London (17th). 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.

According to the Best Urban Cities for Digital Nomads ranking by Spot a Home, Seoul ranks 42nd out of 56 global cities. It currently sits between Santiago de Chile (41st) and Budapest (43rd).

The Arcadis Sustainability City Index 2022 ranks Seoul 26th overall, sitting in between Phoenix (25th) and Antwerp (27th). Seoul’s pillar rankings are the following: Planet 43rd, People 4th, Profit 44th. Its strengths are: broadband, crime, education, health, and income equality; however, work-life balance could be improved.

Lastly, Seoul is home to a couple of the best universities in the world. According to The Times Higher Education ranking, Seoul National University ranks 62nd and Yonsei University 76th. The QS World University ranking positions Seoul National University in 41st place and Yonsei University in 76th.


Last updated in January 2024. More city profiles here.


Enjoyed our summary of global rankings and indices on Seoul’s economic performance, its sustainability, attractiveness for digital nomads, brand strength and reputation? Thanks for sharing!

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