Beyond BRIC: New MasterCard Research Ranks 65 Cities Driving Growth in Emerging Markets

(PresseBox) ( Frankfurt/Main, )
-With global growth expected to reach a modest 3% in 2009 - driven primarily by emerging economies at an unprecedented rate of 12 to 1 compared to rich-world economies, according to the International Monetary Fund[1] - emerging markets are becoming increasingly important investment and business centers. Responding to this reality and providing guidance in today's economic environment is a new study from MasterCard Worldwide, the Worldwide Centers of Commerce(TM) : Emerging Markets Index.

The Index provides valuable insights into the 65 leading cities driving growth within over 30 emerging markets. Cities are generally considered to be leading indicators for national economies, making the study an important barometer of larger global economic trends and growth potential over time.

"Given the current economic climate, MasterCard is focused on providing valuable insights that assist our customers in identifying new market opportunities for the future. The Emerging Markets Index is key to that commitment," said Walt Macnee, President, Global Markets, MasterCard Worldwide. "By evaluating 65 emerging market cities and their increasingly important roles in global commerce, the Index offers companies a roadmap for where commerce is headed next."

The study evaluated the cities on eight dimensions related to the business climate, political environment, economic growth, quality of life, and knowledge creation, and explores the compelling global and regional economic trends that distinguish these cities as future development regions.

With four cities amongst the top 15, Europe holds a strong position within the Emerging Markets index and presents a host of interesting findings:

- Commercial heritage helped propel Budapest to the #3 spot globally. The number one city in the Index for dimensions covering quality of life and risk and security, Budapest also scores among the top ten for its economic and commercial environment and its business climate.
- Warsaw which holds position # 8 within the global index benefits from being the capital of the largest national economy amongst the new admissions to the European Union. Its particular strengths are the quality of life, and low levels of risk coupled with high security, an area in which it ranks second globally.
- Russia is the best represented European nation with a total of four cities in the Index. Moscow, which placed #14 in the Index overall and first among Russian cities, ranked among the top five cities in dimensions related to air passenger, cargo volume and other measures of connectivity, as well as financial market volumes.
- With high rankings for its financial markets and quality of life, Istanbul ranked among the top ten in commercial connectivity, befitting a fast growing nation with easy geographic access to many fast-growing markets. It holds position #15 within the overall Index.

"At a time of dynamic change in the global economy, emerging markets and the cities that drive them are increasingly important to global economic growth," said Bella Stavchansky, Head of High-Growth European Markets, MasterCard Europe. "I am very pleased to see such good representation of European emerging markets in the Index and look forward to helping MasterCard continue to play a vital role in these markets' economic development."

"Globalization is a part of today's economic reality - capital, talent, technology and even intellectual property now move seamlessly across borders and nations," said Prof William Lever, a member of the Emerging Markets Index research team. "The most promising emerging markets in Europe are to be found in the largest new member states of the EU, in Turkey, an aspiring member state, and in Russia with its oil and gas wealth. The main strengths of the eastern European cities lie in their quality of life, when compared on a global scale, in the relative ease of doing business and, in the case of Moscow, its multiplicity of business services and airline connectivity."

The Index, developed by a panel of nine independent experts in economics, sociology and urban studies, is part of the broader MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce(TM) program - a global initiative to examine the role of cities in performing critical functions that connect markets and commerce around the world.

Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa

Chinese Cities Dominate the Index. With 15 cities ranked in the top 30 and four in the top ten including #1 Shanghai, #2 Beijing, #6 Guangzhou and #10 Shenzhen, China outshone all other countries in the Index. Chinese cities placed among the top ten globally in measures relating to its commercial climate, economic growth and business connectivity, and held all top ten spots in the area related to education and IT connectivity. China's national economy played a key role in its city rankings, as has the visionary leadership of Shanghai, an important global commercial center.

Outsourcing Engine India Second Only to China. Led by Mumbai, the number one city globally in a critical dimension related to financial markets, eight Indian cities appeared in the Index, more than any country other than China. Scoring well in measures related to security and risk and connectivity, this showing reflects the leadership of cities like Chennai, a global center for automotive and film production.

South Africa a Gateway to a Continent. With the most cities in the Index outside the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), South Africa's strong showing may reflect the ongoing opening of Africa to Western products, services and companies. It is clearly a place to watch carefully for new business opportunities.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Stable and Safe Santiago Leads the Region. With high scores in dimensions related to economic stability, the business climate and quality of urban life, Santiago places #5 overall and first among its regional peers.

Rich in Resources, Brazil Is a Leader in LAC. This fast-growing nation has five cities appearing in the Index, including Sao Paolo (#12 overall) which scored in the top ten globally in dimensions related to financial market volumes and business connectivity.

Santo Domingo the Only Caribbean Island City on the Index. At #51, the city proves itself an important locale for the Caribbean, as well as Central America and northern South America. It is a center worth keeping an eye on.

Methodology

The MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce(TM) : Emerging Markets Index is compiled from research by a panel of nine independent economic, urban development and social-science experts from leading academic and research institutions around the world, led by Dr. Michael Goldberg, Program Director, MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Program.

To form the Index, the panel rigorously identified 65 cities around the world that met their initial stringent criteria. Cities were then rated on eight key dimensions as follows:

- Economic and Commercial Environment
- Economic Growth and Development
- Business Environment
- Financial Services Environment
- Commercial Connectivity
- Education and IT Connectivity
- Quality of Urban Life
- Risk and Security

The process entailed measuring a number of carefully weighted, relevant indicators and sub-indicators that aggregate available data relevant to each dimension. The panel evaluated a total of eight dimensions comprised of 65 indicators and 89 sub-indicators to derive an Index score for each city, a process that goes well beyond traditional measures used to gauge worldwide financial and business activity.

About the Worldwide Centers of Commerce: Emerging Markets Index Research Team Leading the Worldwide Centers of Commerce program is Professor Michael Goldberg, Program Director. With more than 40 years of experience, Professor Goldberg has consulted for businesses and governments in Canada, the U.S. and Asia, lectured at 50 universities and research institutes in 16 countries and authored or co-authored nine books and more than 200 academic and professional articles. To assist him in this research, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide, APMEA Region, initially assembled and chaired a panel of leading experts in economics, urban development and social-science from around the world, including the following:

- Professor Fan Gang, Director, National Economic Research Institute, Beijing
- Mr. Manu Bhaskaran, Partner/Head, Economic Research, Centennial Group, Singapore
- Professor William Lever, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow
- Professor Maurice D. Levi, Chair of Bank of Montreal Professor of International Finance, University of British Columbia
- Dr. Anthony Pellegrini, Partner/ Director of the Urban and Infrastructure Policy and Finance Practice, Centennial Group, Washington, D.C.
- Professor Saskia Sassen, Helen and Robert Lynd Professor of Sociology, Committee on Global Thought and Department of Sociology, Columbia University
- Professor Peter J. Taylor, Director, Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) Research Network, Loughborough University, UK

[1] International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook (WEO): Financial Stress, Downturns, and Recoveries, October 2008, page 24; http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2008/02/index.htm
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