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
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
London is promoting its tech stars to shows it can compete with Silicon Valley. Here are five companies to watch.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
It's not easy being Jordan and it is about to become even more difficult, again.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1529 GMT (2329 HKT)
Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
June 18, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
June 16, 2014 -- Updated 1314 GMT (2114 HKT)
The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1416 GMT (2216 HKT)
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
June 17, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
The UK capital promotes its tech stars and shows it can compete with Silicon Valley. Here are five companies that pitch to make it big.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 0956 GMT (1756 HKT)
Banksy has condemned an exhibition of his work after organizers defended their decision to remove his art from public spaces.
June 3, 2014 -- Updated 1029 GMT (1829 HKT)
As debate rages over whether Banksys should be for sale, we direct you to the ones you can still see on the streets.
June 2, 2014 -- Updated 1338 GMT (2138 HKT)
While Ukraine's fight for freedom gets bloodier by the day and Russia faces the West's cold shoulder, one oligarch is using art to get his message across.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 2114 GMT (0514 HKT)
Index on Censorship's Jodie Ginsberg argues the "right to be forgotten" decision is too woolly.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Andy McNab says being a psychopath makes us better at business, life and love. Could he be right?
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
Google has revealed a prototype of its latest driverless car -- and this one doesn't even have a steering wheel.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1024 GMT (1824 HKT)
CNN's Nina dos Santos speaks to the mothers of successful children and asks them: What's the secret of bringing up a winner?
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1613 GMT (0013 HKT)
Far-right and far-left parties across Europe caused a political "earthquake," with a string of victories in voting for the European Parliament.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1623 GMT (0023 HKT)
CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney speaks to Mihaela Carstei about the $400B gas deal recently struck between Russia and China.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 0818 GMT (1618 HKT)
The EU is struggling to identify its vision after financial crisis. The European elections are key, and Nina dos Santos says the union needs a new vision.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1135 GMT (1935 HKT)
CNN's Nina Dos Santos sits down with Elon Musk's mother Maye, who tells her the story of her family and their success.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1410 GMT (2210 HKT)
Boko Haram attacks have shifted the focus at the World Economic Forum hosted by Nigeria, CNN's John Defterios explains.
May 20, 2014 -- Updated 2219 GMT (0619 HKT)
Russian oligarch is set to lose half his wealth after being ordered to pay his former wife $4.5 billion in a divorce settlement.
April 2, 2014 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)
China's ultimate goal is to reach a wide-ranging trade agreement with the EU. The EU hopes to persuade China to open its markets.
ADVERTISEMENT