Shanghai City Performance, Brand Strength and Reputation

Shanghai, characterized by its iconic and modern Lujiazui skyline, is one of the biggest cities in the world. It is a major transport hub, as well as an increasingly important global financial center. Home to the largest free-trade zone of mainland China, how does this huge metropolis do in terms of city performance, brand strength and reputation?

Let’s explore deeper how Shanghai 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:

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

Shanghai’s competitiveness and financial performance

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

The Global Financial Centres Index 34 continues to rank Shanghai 7th. It is currently sitting between Los Angeles (6th) and Washington DC (8th). Shanghai also ranked as the 6th center most likely to become more significant. Moreover, the city holds a strong standing in the following areas of competitiveness: Business Environment (6th), Financial Sector Development (6th), Human Capital (7th), Infrastructure (10th), and Reputational & General (7th). It also performs very well in the following industry sectors: Banking (3rd), Investment Management (4th), Finance (3rd), Trading (9th), Insurance (5th), Government & Regulatory (8th), Professional Services (10th), and Fintech (15th). Beijing holds the sixth place in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to 2thinknow’s Innovation Cities Index 2022-2023 Shanghai dropped 31 positions from the previous ranking and now holds the 46th position. It sits in between Las Vegas (45th) and Detroit (48th).


Shanghai’s brand strength and global attractiveness

Which subfactors hurt and help the brand of Shanghai

Resonance’s 2023 World’s Best Cities Report ranks Shanghai 62nd, scoring the following in the Place Power Highlights: 7th for Global 500 Companies and 7th for Restaurants. It currently sits in between Glasgow (61st) and Rio de Janeiro (63rd).

Kearney’s 2023 Global Cities Report ranks Shanghai in 13th, a jump in three positions from the previous ranking. Shanghai ranks 51st for the Global Cities Outlook, a drop of 21 positions from the previous ranking.

The comprehensive ranking of the Global Power City Index ranks Shanghai 15th. In terms of function-specific rankings, the city ranks 11th in terms of Economy, 13th in R&D, 23rd in Cultural Interaction, 30th in Liveability, 33rd in Environment, and 9th in Accessibility. Moreover, Shanghai ranks 6th in the Variety of Workplace Positions. Lastly, Shanghai positioned 33rd in the Highly-skilled Workers, 25th in the Corporate Executive, 23rd in the Resident, and 17th in the Tourism categories.

According to Brand Finance’s City Index 2023, Shanghai ranks 54th in the global ranking with a score of 64.3/100, sitting in between Kuala Lumpur (53rd) and Athens (55th).


Liveability: Shanghai’s appeal for digital nomads and locals

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

The Mercer Quality of Living City Ranking places Shanghai 109th, sitting between São Paulo (108th) and Durban (110th). The Mercer Cost of Living Ranking ranks Shanghai 12th, it sits between Los Angeles (11th) and Beijing (13th). 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 Shanghai 66th overall, sitting in between New Orleans (65th) and Shenzhen (67th). Shanghai’s pillar rankings are the following: Planet 75th, People 49th, Profit 63rd.

Lastly, Shanghai is home to a couple of the best universities in the world. According to The Times Higher Education ranking, Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks 43rd and Fudan University 44th. The QS World University ranking positions Shanghai Jiao Tong University 51st and Fudan University 50th.


Last updated in January 2024. More city benchmarking insights, profiles and reports in our City Observatory.


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