The richest cities in the world are determined by their gross domestic product, or GDP. According to Investopedia, "Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period." In this case, we are looking at the GDP of metropolitan statistical areas, and not countries.
For instance, the city of New York is a metropolitan area made up of 5 boroughs with each borough contributing to the cities overall GDP. As such when it comes to the richest cities in the world, New York City comes in at number 2.
By examining a cities GDP, we can get a good idea of its industries and how they contribute to the overall economic growth. When determining the GDP, the UN classifies 3 methods to determine it: City proper, urban area and metropolitan regions.. Our numbers for the richest cities in the world are based on the metropolitan statistical region.
20. Toronto, Canada: $452.492 Billion
According to Jennifer Reynolds, Pre4sident and CEO of Toronto Finance International, "Toronto’s success is due in large part to the strength and significant growth of its financial industry.
Toronto is the second largest financial center in North America," Like New York City, Toronto's financial hub is populated by diverse industries. Everything from financial services, fashion, digital media, the food/beverage industry and tech found a home in Toronto.
19. Philadelphia, USA: $455.653 Billion
Home to 12 Fortune 500 companies, the city of Philly is Pennsylvania's financial hub. Fortune 500 companies include Comcast, Colonial Penn, Sunoco, Aramark, CIGNA, Lincoln Financial Group, and more.
Tourism is another major contributor to the economy of Philadelphia. After all, it's Philadelphia's rich history that fuels the tourist trade that brings over 2 million visitors from both the U.S. and foreign countries every year. Other profitable sectors include information technology, medical technology, retail, financial and legal sectors.
18. Shenzhen, China: $455.694 Billion
The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was created in May of 1980 and is based on Ireland's Shannon Free Zone. The Shenzhen Special Economic Zone or SEZ is an important business and financial services center in China.
China is crucial to the world's supply chain, and Shenzhen's container port is one of the largest. As such, you can see how anything affecting these shipping ports will have a negative impact on world wide supply chain logistics.
Shipping isn't the only industry which brings revenue into SEZ, it's also the sizable industrial parks, high-tech industries and of course, trade. Well-known corporations that reside in SEZ are Tencent, Huawei and DJI.
As a SEZ, businesses in the area receive special treatment in the form of tax benefits, which helps increase the GDP bottom line immensely. Due to heavy investment into research and development, high-tech companies in Shenzen have consistent government support.
17. Houston, USA: $489.377 Billion
According to the Greater Houston Project, “As retailers work to rebuild their inventories, as factories struggle to resolve supply chain issues, as the global economy continues to grow, so will the demand for Houston’s exports, and so will Houston employment,”.
Unlike so many other cities bending under the weight of a post-pandemic world, Houston's economy hs gotten stronger. Houston's economy is diverse, from the worlds largest petrochemical manufacturing center to health care and medical research, real estate, finance, and information tech industries.
16. Moscow, Russia: $$504.808 Billion
The current state of the Moscow economy isn't as bright as it was earlier in the year due to sanctions. Before the Ukraine invasion, Moscow was the economic hub of Russia. Principal industries which were the engine behind Moscow's economy are textile, metallurgy, energy, and chemical.
Fortune Global 500 companies housed in Moscow include Gazprom, Rosneft Oil and Sistema among others. However, invading a sovereign nation had its consequences, and Russia's entire economy is in a state of disrepair.
15. Boston, USA: $513.211 Billion
Founded in 1630, Boston is one of our countries oldest cities. Today, Boston is a center of learning with many stellar educational institutions like MIT and Harvard, which contribute greatly to Boston's economy.
Other industries which influence the economy of Boston include the biotech industry, tourism, finance services and several Fortune 500 companies. The Fortune 500 companies hosted by Boston include: State Street, Liberty Mutual Insurance, Gillette and General Electric. Companies that have offices in Boston include BNY Mellon, Goldman Sachs and Microsoft.
14. Dallas, USA: $523.854 Billion
Dallas plays host to a variety of industries, and its these industries which are responsible for the economic growth of the Dallas metropolitan area. In fact, such diversity plays well in times of economic hardship, which includes the recent downturn caused by the pandemic.
These industries include manufacturing, energy, information tech, finances, telecommunications, education, and telecommunications. Dallas is known to attract innovation, and one look at some of the top companies in Dallas proves it: AT & T, Texas Instruments, Pinnacle Group, Solera and Capital Networks, among others.
13. Washington, District of Columbia: $578.985 Billion
Like the other cities mentioned in our list of the richest cities of the world, the economy of Washington, D.C. is a diverse one. It goes without saying that due to its history tourism is a huge draw when it comes to obtaining revenue.
Other industries which thrive here are those in high-tech, scientific R&D, professional services such as legal, insurance, finance and public administration. Fortune 500 companies include Discovery Communications, Fannie Mae, Walmart and CACI International among others.
12. Beijing, China: $591.374 Billion
Beijing is the capital of China and has a population of over 20 million. With the onset of free-market reforms in the 1990s, Beijing saw its economic development soar. A huge part of this development was the influx of multi-national corporations.
Foreign corporations such as IBM, Nestle, Hewlett-Packard and more flooded Beijing, causing a rapid economic expansion. Another crucial element is the neighborhood of Zhongguancun.
Zhongguancun is considered the Silicon Valley of China and is deeply rooted in the electronics and high-tech industries such as Microsoft, Sony and Google. Beijing also has the dubious distinction of being the knock-off capital of the world.
In other words, the city produces poor copies of everything from designer fashions to scooters. These are of very low quality and should be avoided.
11. San Francisco, USA: $593.629 Billion
San Francisco has a rich economic history,,one that includes the wealth generated by the California Gold Rush. Ever since, San Francisco has remained a strong financial stronghold for the state of California.
Montgomery Street is considered the West's Wall Street and is located in San Francisco. Other industries driving their economy are tech, tourism, and the service industries such as hospitality.
A big economic draw for San Francisco is its close proximity to Silicon Valley. Even though the city was riddled with the effects of the pandemic, Job growth occurred with another 5,700 jobs added.
10. Shanghai, China: $633.935 Billion
Despite suffering a tough downturn due to the pandemic, Shanghai remains one of the worlds richest cities. In order to recoup losses, in June of 2022, the city of Shanghai released a post-lockdown business recovery plan.
This included plans of action to assist with rent, taxes, business subsidies and more. A good part of their revenue comes from their port, which is the largest container port in the world. In the past, manufacturing was seen as a booming sector in Shanghai, but lately it's slowed and is being replaced by financial services, trade, information tech, real estate and commerce, among others.
Keep in mind that state-owned corporations in China get tremendous government support no matter what the economic conditions, even Global 500 companies like SAIC Motor and China National Petroleum.
9. Rhine-Ruhr, Germany: $636.449 Billion
The Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area is the economic power house of Germany. This large metropolitan area has a history of being the hub of Germany's heavy industry sector.
However, today it has moved on to other, more profitable economic interests such as finances, high tech and insurance, to name a few. The metropolitan area of Rhine-Ruhr is divided into 3 regions, and each region contributes to the GDP of the entire Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area.
Fortune 500 companies located in the Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan area include: ThyssenKrupp AG, RWE AG, Bayer AG, Evonik Industries, among others.
8. Osaka, Japan: $699.474 Billion
According to a study by Teleport, Osaka scores well when it comes to affordable housing, community safety, business, and healthcare. Historically speaking, Osaka has always been thought of as a major economic center of Japan.
Known as a center of learning due to the many high caliber universities in the city such as Osaka and Kansai universities, Osaka attracts creative and innovative industries.
For instance, Osaka is home to major electronics corporations like Sharp and Panasonic as well as pharmaceutical companies, food, retail and trading companies.
Adding to the diversity are biotech companies and information technologies. In fact, according to this chart, you can see that manufacturing takes the lead with 16.6 percent followed by retail at 16.6 percent and real estate at 11.4 percent.
7. Chicago, USA: $714.697 Billion
The City of Chicago's economy is home to a strong financial sector which includes the Chicago Board of Trade, NYSE Arca, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Chicago Board Options Exchange and the Chicago Stock Exchange.
City employment is driven by AT & T, Walgreens, Abbott Labs, the CTA, Walmart and Allstate Insurance, among others. Industries that have found success in the city include food processing, manufacturing, publishing, insurance and tourism. In pre-Covid times, Chicago clocked round 55 million tourists in 2017.
Devoted to encouraging economic development, Chicago's Department of Planning and Development has a number of economic development initiatives. These initiatives include the Small Business Improvement Fund, the Chicago Recovery Grant, Special Service Area Program, Tax Increment Financing and more.
6. Seoul, South Korea: $926.790 Billion
Seoul is a gorgeous city and the economic hub of South Korea. Once a leader in the manufacturing industry, that industry has been bowing to more modern industries like high tech, financial services and electronics.
A massive powerhouse in Seoul is Samsung. Other companies crucial to Seoul's economic health include: Kia, Daewoo and Hyundai. South Korea's Wall Street is the Korea Exchange in Yeoui Island.
Fortune Global 500 companies include SK Holdings, POSCO, LG Electronics and more. In fact, Seoul is known as "the most wired city in the world" due to the high concentration of high-tech industries.
5. Paris, France: $934.168 Billion
It's no surprise to anyone that a good chunk of the Paris economy is the tourist trade. After all, Paris is one of the hotbeds of world tourism, it's the city of love and art. However, it's also a city steeped in industry.
Once a top contender in manufacturing, today manufacturing revenue covers only around 10 percent of the economy. It's been rapidly replaced by information tech and financial services. Paris is also home to several Fortune Global 500 companies such as, BNP Paribas, Peugeot, CNP Assurances, SNCF, Vivendi and more.
4. London, United Kingdom: $978.402 Billion
Once considered a major shipping hub to the world, that distinction has been replaced by the service industries, such as financial services. In fact, London is one of the chief financial centers of the world.
Major financial powerhouses in London include Canary Wharf, HSBC and Barclays. It's also host to the headquarters of around 75 percent of the worlds Fortune 500 companies.
Another industry that rains gobs of revenue on the City of London is the tourism industry with over 20 million visitors per year. Finally, London hosts some of the most prominent Fortune Global 500 companies such as Lloyds Banking Group, Prudential, J Sainsbury, BP, Tesco and Vodafone Group, among others.
3. Los Angeles, USA: $1,133.627 Billion
Los Angeles is a city that takes great strides to encourage economic growth. L.A. makes good use of both job training programs and development projects. The Private Industry Council works to promote the local economy via job training programs.
L.A. is also abuzz with development projects, such as refurbishing businesses like Mann's Chinese Theater, as well as infrastructure projects. Industries critical for L.A.'s economic success include entertainment, international trade, gaming, tourism, fashion and more.
A little known fact is that L.A. is the manufacturing center of the country. The cannabis business is rather recent, but also encourages financial growth for the city.
2. New York City, USA: $1,330.000 Billion
Though still bruised and battered by the effects of the pandemic, New York City is holding true to its reputation as a tough and resourceful city. The largest economy in states, New York City's prosperity is rooted in Wall Street.
Industries that contribute to New York City's economy are health care, tourism, real estate, tech, publishing, fashion, media and insurance, among others. Currently, 43 Fortune 500 companies that call New York City home include: Verizon, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Citigroup, MetLife, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and more.
1. Tokyo, Japan: $2,055.698 Billion
The richest city in the world is Tokyo. Home to both invention and innovation, anime's, manga's and of course, robots, Tokyo is known as the financial center of the world.
In fact, Tokyo plays host to the top money-building organizations and minds anywhere on Earth. This includes the burgeoning FinTech, or financial technology industries.
For over 50 years, Tokyo has occupied the top spot, and shows no sign of slowing down. In terms of asset management, FinTech, and ESG investment, Tokyo's continued growth as the worlds most foremost economies appears secured. Fortune Global 500 companies in Tokyo include: Honda Motors, Hitachi, Sony, Mitsubishi and more.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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