The sun rises behind the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
By Lee Wei Lian
KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 — Malaysia’s capital city was one of the 10 cities identified in a report by international property consultancy, Knight Frank, as a rising global city with growing economic power, but lacking in terms of knowledge and quality of life.
Kuala Lumpur had the eight biggest gain in aggregate scores in the 2010 survey of the world’s top cities, tied with Sydney, Shanghai and Mumbai but behind Singapore, Beijing, Tel Aviv and Berlin.
The Knight Frank annual survey ranks world cities according to their influence in economic activity, political power, knowledge, and quality of life.
While it experienced a jump in aggregate scores last year, Kuala Lumpur was still ranked only 34th overall, and trails far behind other key Asian cities such as Tokyo (4), Singapore (7), Beijing (9), Seoul (13), Hong Kong (14), Bangkok (18), Shanghai (19) and Taipei (23).
“Unsurprisingly, one of the key themes this year is the strengthening power of the emerging centres, with big gains experienced by the likes of Beijing, Singapore, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Mumbai,” said the report.
It noted, however, that while emerging centres like Kuala Lumpur and Beijing are gaining ground in economic and political power, they still fall short on the softer issues such as quality of life and knowledge and intellectual influence, which were the strong points of cities in developed countries such as Berlin, Paris and Zurich.
“For the rising cities of Asia, economic growth and greater political clout on their own will not succeed in propelling them to the top of the table in terms of locations where the world’s most influential citizens want to have a first or even a second home,” said the report.
The report added “contenders” should take note of top cities such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.
“They needed a broad base of appeal — something clearly demonstrated by both Paris and Tokyo. World cities are connected, in terms of transport and communications, but, more importantly, in terms of ideas,” said the report.
“These are the locations where the world’s most influential people want to congregate because these are the locations where the ideas and values that define the global agenda and shape the world are settled.”
It noted that even Shanghai, which experienced phenomenal economic expansion, is struggling to move rapidly up the world cities table.
“To be successful, cites must attract the best and the brightest and influence the world. The ability to react to changing circumstances is also critical.”
The world’s top five most influential cities according to the survey are New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles — with New York overtaking London last year due to the troubles faced by the latter’s financial sector.
The survey of the world’s top cities was part of Knight Frank’s Wealth Report 2010, which was developed together with Citi Private Bank and published in March.
* A previous version of this story was published with the name of the consultancy as Frank Knight. It has since been corrected.