Dubai is one of the leading world cities and one of key cities of MEASA (Middle East, Africa, and South Asia). It greatly accelerated its development in 1960-s after the oil prices growth and became a real capital of luxurious marvels such as Burj Khalifa, Palm Jumeirah and Lamborghini police.
Leading European science team GaWC assessed Dubai in 2020 as “Alfa+” - highly integrated city that complement London and New York. It is considered one of the 15 leading world cities and home of HQ for many global companies, choosing this city as a place to do business with Middle East, Central and South Asia, North African countries.
Center for City Development Policy analyzed how the data and city-rankers assess the cities success.
How do different rankings evaluate Dubai.
Leading London think-tank Z/Yen Global Financial Center Index (GFCI) says that Dubai is a leading financial hub in the MEASA (Middle East, Africa, and South Asia) with a population around 3 billion people and estimated GDP of USD 8 trillion.
The top position of Dubai was in II half of 2019, when the city reached 8-th position in the world! But pandemic greatly influenced the city. Dubai is global leader in Number of Foreign Residents. According to the UN calculations, expats make up 88.1% of the total 10 mln population UAE, as for 2020.
And during the pandemic, the city was under very high pressure, due all this people are not citizen and only few have apartments in property. So, hundreds of thousands of expats were under the high pressure of pandemic restrictions and had to leave the country.
Japanese Mori foundation in their Mori Power City Index toped Dubai position in 2023, when the city reached top-8. We consider that this growth is mainly considered with Dubai strengthening its position as the cultural, events and logistical hub. Mori Foundation analytics shows, that Dubai already reached its top position in economics and finance in 2017. And there are only few signals, that is strengthening its position.
In 2017, Mori marked that Dubai debuts at No. 11 thanks to high scores for GDP Growth Rate and Corporate Tax Rate. Dubai is still the 1st city in the world providing 0% revenue tax rate for all companies, but the growth rates after pandemic are considerably moderate.
We would like to emphasize some strengths of the city – now it is not working only for economic performance, but also for its branding as cultural crossroads, tourism lighthouse and leading logistical hub.
According to Mori in 2023 in cities, Dubai reached 4’th place in “Cultural Interaction”.
Due to the excellent luxury hotel opportunities and many landmarks, in 2022 Dubai received 14.36 million international visitors. We expect that this year the number of tourists will reach 20 million of international visitors.
Also in 2022 Dubai hosted the key international event – World Expo 2020, which attracted 24 mln visitors and showed that the city is able to organize world level events.
The city created one body for both economic development, tourism, education, investment, business attraction and retirement - Department of Economy and Tourism. This body is one window for the guests of the city, responsible for facilitation of new investments and visitors.
The other great strength of Dubai is its transport development and accessibility.
Due to profound city planning strategy, the city shows very good traffic results. According to TomTom the city shows low traffic jams situation - #291 world place, which is excellent result for a megapolis. This means that there are almost no problems with traffic jams.
In 2018 Dubai International Airport reached 89 mln passengers per year, what made the airport the 3nd busiest airport passengers airport in the world.
According to our calculations, Dubai also shows incredible time to reach airports from the city centre. Even at rush hour it takes no more than 20 minutes by car, and 30-35 minutes by public transit. One more prove of the genius planning of the city public transportation and roads system.
About Z/Yen GFCI and Mori GPCI.
In our analyses we used two main sources – analytics of Z/Yen and Mori Memorial Foundation – leading and most respected city ranking agencies in the world. We also tried to analyze what was the city strategy, what are the advantages of the city that made it lead and develop so fast.
Z/Yen Global Financial Center Index (GFCI) is one of the most reputable city indices, covering 132 global financial centers located all over the world. Since 2007 London City based Z/Yen measures cities and their position as centers of world finance.
According to its methodology, the Z/Yen uses more than 140 different sources (among them – some statistical data and other rankings) and financial officers surveys to find the actual position of major cities as Global Financial Center.
City data factors: Business Environment Factors (37 factors), Human Capital Factors (30 factors), Infrastructure Factors (32 factors), Financial Sector Development Factors (20 factors) and Reputation Factors (30 factors) and the survey data.
Mori Global Power City Index is also considered one of the leading city rankings. It evaluates and ranks 48 major cities of the world according to their “magnetism,” or their comprehensive power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. Tokyo based The Mori Memorial Foundation and Institute for Urban Strategies published the Index since 2008, and it is considered one of the most holistic and science based researches.
It assesses 70 factors, divided on 6 groups – Economy (13 factors), R&D (7 factors), Cultural interaction (16 factors), Livability (14 factors), Environment (9 factors), Accessibility (10 factors).
City data factors: Nominal GDP, GDP per Capita, GDP Growth Rate, Stock Market Capitalization, World's Top 500 Companies, Total Employment, Employees in Business Support Services, Wage Level, Availability of Skilled Human Resources, Variety of Workplace Options, Corporate Tax Rate, Political, Economic and Business Risk and Economic Freedom.
This year Z/Yen in GFCI analyzed 121 cities, and Mori Global Power City Index analyzed 48 cities.45 Cities are the same and they are real global centers in all variants.
Both rankings acknowledge New York and London as global leaders and world capitals.
Z/Yen placed Singapore, Hong Kong and San Francisco in Top-5. In Mori index Tokyo, Paris and Singapore take the lead. The differences confirm that the strong economy and strong global position of the city are strongly connected.
At the same time, Mori takes in account 3 cities, which don’t appear in Z/Yen ranking. Cairo (Egypt), Fukuoka (Japan) and Barcelona (Spain) are global hubs with significant influence on the world economy.
Z/Yen is more aimed on financial success of the cities, so in the list there are some cities only showing the best performance in economic and finance sphere, but not “world capitals” –Luxembourg, Miami, Munich, San Diego and many other.
The regression analyses shows, that both Z/Yen and Mori approach to measure economic strength and influence of the cities gives very similar results – 0.845. It means that even with the very different approaches and different indicators, both indexes assess almost the same qualities.