21 best cities
for international
business revealed

A new report has shown that when it comes to business, not all cities are created equal – some places have more impact on global business, culture and politics than others. So, which are the world’s best cities for business?

Management consultancy firm A.T. Kearney has published its annual Global Cities Report, looking at which cities around the world are improving in their competitiveness, and what’s the driving force behind their success.

Examining dozens of variables and categorising the cities based on their level of business activity, culture, human capital, political engagement and information exchange, each city’s score is then totalled to create a ranking.

Perhaps no surprise, New York and London were at the top of the list - both cities scored considerably higher than their nearest rivals (and New York is also the world’s most expensive city for business).

And though the list’s top 21 cities are spread around the world, destinations in Europe dominate. Here’s the full list:

  1. New York City, New York - Home of Wall Street and the United Nations, New York City is viewed as the world's most important city, maintaining its top spot in the list for a second year. If you need to head to NYC on business, British Airways is a great option (with up to twelve trans-Atlantic flights per day). You’ll also get access to British Airways’ flagship US lounge, the Club Lounge at JFK airport.
  2. London, UK - Brexit is likely to marginally diminish London's role as a global business hub, but it’s still the world's second-most-influential city (for now), making it a great place for international meetings and corporate events.
  3. Paris, France – The French capital is best known for its art, architecture and fashion – but according to A.T. Kearney’s 2019 Global Cities Index, it has the most think tanks in the world, too.
  4. Tokyo, Japan - In 2018, Bloomberg ranked Japan's sprawling capital the largest city in the world with 37 million people in its metropolitan area.
  5. Hong Kong - Formerly controlled by Britain, Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997. It is one of Asia's biggest financial centres, and a hub for doing business in the Far East.
  6. Singapore - Singapore's container port is one of the world's largest, and the city is also a major hub for the oil industry.
  7. Los Angeles, California - Home to Hollywood, Los Angeles means showbiz, with movie studios, TV stations and more. The West Coast location also makes it a key hub for business trade with Asia.
  8. Chicago, Illinois - Trading defines Chicago's importance as a major international city, with two of the biggest commodity exchanges based here. Agricultural products like wheat, corn and pork are among the products that are traded on the city's mercantile exchanges.
  9. Beijing, China - The capital and political hub of the world's second-largest economy is understandably influential. Beijing is also home to more companies in the Global Fortune 500 than any other city. If you are planning to do business in China, make sure you plan around the country’s cultural events and holidays.
  10. Washington, D.C - Home to the United States' most important political institutions, like the White House and the Capitol, the city also hosts international institutions including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
  11. Sydney, Australia - According to the rankings, Sydney is the most important city in the southern hemisphere. It is also considered one of the most liveable cities in the world.
  12. Brussels, Belgium - Politics and bureaucracy define Belgium's capital, the home of the European Union, though it’s relatively small compared to many major cities.
  13. Seoul, South Korea - South Korea's capital continues to hold global importance. It is a centre for commerce and home to many major brands (such as Samsung, LG and Kia).
  14. Berlin, Germany - Berlin still proves to be one of the most influential cities in the world and houses one of the oldest stock exchanges in Germany.
  15. Madrid, Spain - A major hub for commerce in the Spanish-speaking world, Madrid is Spain’s second-largest industrial centre. The city scored highly in the business-activity category in the 2019 Global Cities Index.
  16. Melbourne, Australia - Melbourne was ranked as the top place for international students by the 2019 Global Cities Index and continues to lead in environmental performance.
  17. Toronto, Canada – Though not as well-known as its American neighbours, Toronto is a globally important city and has North America's third-largest stock exchange by market capitalisation.
  18. Moscow, Russia – The capital of the largest country in the world, Moscow continues to increase its global footprint.
  19. Shanghai, China - Home to the Chinese mainland's main financial centre, Shanghai is also the world's busiest container port, making it a global hub for all kinds of trade. Just be sure to follow our tips on business etiquette when travelling to China.
  20. Amsterdam, Netherlands - The Dutch economy was anticipated to grow 2.6% over the course of 2019 – which has pushed Amsterdam up two spots in the rankings since 2018.
  21. Boston, Massachusetts - According to A.T. Kearney’s 2019 Global Cities Index, Boston improved in both economics and innovation since last year, rising three places.


If you regularly travel for business to any of these cities, speak to one of our Travel Experts to find out how Flight Centre Business Travel could help you reduce costs and save overall on your companies travel programme. Contact us today online or call 0208 131 4219.