Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Asia's most 'innovative' city is...

By Ramy Inocencio, for CNN
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 1300 GMT (2100 HKT)
Singapore's skyline and iconic Merlion on March 28, 2012. The city-state is Asia's most innovative city for its ability to attract global talent and high livability, says Solidiance, a strategy consulting firm. Singapore's skyline and iconic Merlion on March 28, 2012. The city-state is Asia's most innovative city for its ability to attract global talent and high livability, says Solidiance, a strategy consulting firm.
HIDE CAPTION
Asia's most innovative: #1. Singapore
Asia's most innovative: #2. Sydney
Asia's most innovative: #3. Melbourne
Asia's most innovative: #4. Hong Kong
Asia's most innovative: #5. Auckland
Asia's most innovative: #6. Tokyo
Asia's most innovative: #7. Seoul
Asia's most innovative: #8. Osaka
Asia's most innovative: #9. Busan
Asia's most innovative: #10. Taipei
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Singapore is Asia-Pacific's most innovative city, says marketing firm Solidiance in a new report
  • City innovation report looks at six main categories including talent base, education, livability
  • Singapore's foreign talent population jumped from 8% in 2000 to 14% in 2012
  • World Bank ranked Singapore as best place to do business for 2013

Editor's note: "The City" is a CNN special series that profiles the sustainable urban future of five cities over five days. Watch the show every day during our special theme week starting Monday, Aug 19 on "World Business Today" at 1300 GMT and "Connect The World" at 2000 GMT.

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Singapore ranks as Asia's most innovative city in Asia-Pacific, according to a new survey by Solidiance, a strategy consulting firm based in the Southeast Asian city-state.

Singapore ranks number one for innovation in the Asia-Pacific because "it has made dramatic and perpetual improvements for the past 25 years," said Solidiance, transforming itself from a trading port to high-tech and financial hub.

After Singapore, the top five cities are Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Auckland.

The report examines six links between what a city has to offer and the amount of talent that relocates to that city: the availability of a skilled talent base; a strong higher education system; the livability of a city and environmental sustainability; technological advancement and government regulations that support financial freedom and global integration.

Singapore's vertical farm
Singapore is sprouting green roofs
Singapore's labor pains
$63K for just the right to buy a car

With Singapore, the city has pushed an 'open door policy' welcoming professional talent from around the world. In 2000, 8% of the country's 4 million residents were foreigners. In 2012, the foreign population made up 14% of the city's 5.3 million people.

Strong government regulations have provided for a structured and stable environment with which to conduct business, the report said. The World Bank ranked Singapore as the best place to do business in the world for 2013, unchanged from 2012.

But to keep its top spot as best Asian city for innovation, Singapore needs to stay open to new ideas, new cultures, and new entrants, adds Solidiance.

"Singapore has no other choice; it must adapt, stay opened and lead change if it is to remain relevant in the 21st century," says Damien Duhamel, Managing Partner Asia of Solidiance.

Sydney scored highest in the categories of global integration, having a skilled talent base and for its technological advancement. Sydney has been able to attract a wide range of professionals from industrialists to artists and information technology experts, the survey found.

Melbourne ranks as the third most innovative city in the Asia-Pacific because of its superiority in the human talent category. Half of the city's population comes from immigrant backgrounds, Solidance notes, and the city supports a "good level" of diversity acceptance.

Hong Kong ranks fourth thanks to its technological and regulatory leadership. Solidiance points to the city's tech cluster of Cyberport, envisioned in 1999 and built to help develop Hong Kong's IT industry. However, as reported in local Hong Kong media, critics complain Cyberport has been a failure with office occupancy never reaching full capacity. Hong Kong is also known as one of Asia's most prominent financial hubs thanks to its regulatory framework and lack of corruption. In 2012, the city ranked at number 14 in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index. Hong Kong also has the lowest tax rates in Asia -- 16.5% for corporations -- which attracts business to move and stay in the city.

Auckland took the number five spot largely on its ability to attract skilled talent -- and its tolerance for diversity, the report said. The ease of doing business also expatriate to settle in the city. In the category of livability, however, bad infrastructure for public transport is one of the Auckland's largest detractions.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 0804 GMT (1604 HKT)
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- the three countries facing the biggest health crisis -- are also facing huge bills to try and contain the virus.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1316 GMT (2116 HKT)
Twitter has lost its position in the top 20 coolest brands for the first time in three years.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 1554 GMT (2354 HKT)
As the crisis in Iraq escalates, CNN looks at how Iraq could crack down on ISIS' oil riches under the guidance of its new oil minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi.
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 0842 GMT (1642 HKT)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan is Turkey's new president . So can he revitalize its economic fortunes?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1724 GMT (0124 HKT)
Experts share their tips on cities they see as emerging financial hubs...they're not where you think.
October 9, 2014 -- Updated 1511 GMT (2311 HKT)
Growing numbers of us are willing to serve as bank, teacher or travel agent to people we have never met, and entrust them to serve us in turn.
August 28, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
The European Union is stepping in to save its dairy from going sour.
August 18, 2014 -- Updated 1236 GMT (2036 HKT)
Europe's deteriorating relationship with Russia has hit the region's growth, even before new food sanctions begin to bite.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
Airstrikes, rebels seizing control of oil fields, plus a severe refugee crisis are a recipe for market panic. So why are Iraq oil prices stable?
September 19, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
Peer-to-peer finance lets businesses bypass bank loans. Creative companies with quirky ideas find new lending models advantageous.
July 20, 2014 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing questions, David Clark writes.
September 3, 2014 -- Updated 0952 GMT (1752 HKT)
CNN's Jim Boulden looks on the future of online shopping.
August 5, 2014 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
The biggest Ebola outbreak in history is taking its toll in Western Africa, hitting some of West Africa's most vulnerable economies.
ADVERTISEMENT