Taipei joins index of top 25 centers of commerce

GLOBAL CITIES: The MasterCard report lauded Taipei’s growing influence, but also highlighted the need to improve ease of doing business and the city’s livability

By Jerry Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tue, Jun 10, 2008 - Page 11

Taipei ranked 22nd this year in MasterCard Worldwide’s index of the world’s top 25 centers of commerce.

London muscled out New York to be dubbed the “most influential” city in the world economy for a second straight year, the MasterCard report showed.

London took top rank as the center of commerce, based on an index that rates 75 cities. Tokyo came in at No. 3, ranking it first among Asian cities.

This year also marked the first time that Shanghai made it to the top 25 list, rising to No. 24 from No. 32 last year, the report showed.

Although it was the first time Taipei was included in the survey, it ranked seventh in Asia — ahead of Shanghai and Beijing. Moreover, the nation’s economic stability index ranked second in Asia, only behind Singapore, underlining Taiwan’s influence over global commerce activities, the report said.

“If weekend cross-strait direct flights can be realized, Taipei will then be fused into the two-hour economic circle that includes the Yangtze Delta and Pearl River Delta. This should attract foreign investors and China-based Taiwanese businesspeople to set up their headquarters or research and development centers in Taipei,” Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) said during a speech after receiving the award from MasterCard Worldwide.

Hau said he was confident Taipei would improve its ranking next year, especially with the improved political stability following the elections. He also vowed to maintain the city’s economic stability amid rising fuel and commodity prices.

According to the MasterCard Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index, the areas that Taipei needed to improve the most were the ease of doing business and the city’s livability, in which Taipei ranked 12th and 10th respectively in Asia.

Asian cities took up eight spots in the world ranking of the top 25 cities, underscoring Asia’s growing role in the global economy, Mastercard said.

The seven areas covered in the Worldwide Centers of Commerce Index are legal and political framework, economic stability, ease of doing business, financial flow, business center, knowledge creation and information flow and livability.

“Through our research, MasterCard Worldwide hopes to provide our cooperating partners and even the Taipei City Government a reference on areas that need to be improved to encourage more international businesses to set up their operating centers in Taipei,” Tina Chiang (江威娜), senior vice president and general manager of MasterCard Worldwide’s Asia Pacific region, said at a press conference yesterday.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BLOOMBERG