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Seoul’s city competitiveness tumbles down over the past five years

Seoul’s city competitiveness tumbles down over the past five years

Posted March. 11, 2021 07:28,   

Updated March. 11, 2021 07:28


An analysis revealed that Seoul’s ranking has significantly declined over the last five years, mostly in eval‎uations on business-friendly environment such as industry infrastructure, attracting human resources and private investment.  

The Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) concluded on Wednesday that Seoul’s competitiveness is declining after an internal study on AT Kearney’s 2020 Global City Report and the Mori Foundation’s Global Power City Report. The two reports were issued February this year and last December, respectively.  

In AT Kearney’s Global City Index which eval‎uates the competitiveness of global cities, Seoul was ranked 17th, six steps lower than its rank at 11th in 2015. Its decline was the steepest among the top 30 cities. New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Beijing were the top 5.  

Seoul’s decline was also most pronounced among the top 30 cities based on AT Kearney’s Global City Outlook (GCO), which assesses each city’s future growth potential. It had been 12th highest in 2015, but tumbled down to 42nd place last year. GCO rankings are based on economy (infrastructure, GDP per capita, etc), innovation (private investment, number of patents per person), governance (business friendly environment, etc), personal well-being (income gap, environment, etc). “The results are in stark contrast to Abu Dhabi, which jumped up by 41 ranks over the past five years, boosted by expanding foreign direct investment,” said Kim Bong-man, head of the International Cooperation Department at the FKI.  

Seoul’s scores dropped significantly also in housing and economy based on the Global Power City Index by Mori Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies, bringing down the overall ranking to 8th, two ranks down from 2015. Despite higher rankings in urban environment and culture, the South Korean capital city tumbled down in economic rankings such as economic growth rate, wages, business friendly environment, market attractiveness. Rankings also fell 15 ranks from 24th place of 2015 in housing factors, such as lease, prices and employment environment. Seoul had ranked 9th and 10th place in terms of city competitiveness in 2015 by global CEOs and researchers, but fell to 28th and 29th place in 2020.

Dong-Il Seo dong@donga.com