Consulting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers recently ranked the richest cities in the world by measuring economic output and consumer buying power. Santiago ranked 53rd overall, but 5th among other cities in Latin America, after Mexico, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The survey ranked 151 major cities by dividing the city GDP by the purchasing power of each resident. Tokyo and New York took the top two positions by a high margin: according the report, Tokyo is worth US$1.2 billion and New York US$1.1 billion. The third wealthiest cityÃÂ¢€"Los AngelesÃÂ¢€"is worth only US$639 million. Chicago, Paris, London, Osaka, Mexico, Philadelphia and Washington, respectively, filled the remaining spots in the top ten. Buenos Aires landed close to the top tier at 13; Sao Paulo was at 19 and Rio de Janeiro at 30. In Spain, two cities managed to be among the leading forty--Madrid in spot 12 and Barcelona in 31. Toronto was the only Canadian city in the top 40. A similar, 2005 survey, which included the thirty cities with the highest per capita income, showed that only five of the 25 in the study belonged to emerging economies: Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Moscow and Rio do Janeiro. The other 16 cities were all in the United States. The thirty leading cities of the world represent 16 percent of the global GDP and the two richest -- Tokyo and New York -- have larger GDPs than either Spain or Canada. Of the 151 cities considered, 81 belong to emerging countries. The emerging countries on the list, which currently represent 27 percent of the global GDP, are expected to grow so that by 2020 they'll represent 35 percent of global GDP. The cities expected to grow the most in terms of wealth are all in Asia. Cities like Bombay, Shanghai and Beijing might be ranked as the 24th, 16th and 29th richest cities by 2020. This shift will likely make traditionally high ranking European cities like Milan and Berlin fall behind. Other European capital cities likely to lose rank in the future include Rome, Milan, Vienna, Berlin, plus Naples, Helsinki, Zurich, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Budapest. The report concludes that in industrialized countries, the cities that will achieve a higher degree of development in the future are those with competitive advantages in the knowledge economy and in financial and consumer services. By Shannon Garland The Santiago Times