WASHINGTON (AP) — Macau, the Chinese territory known for casino gambling, outperformed the rest of the world’s major cities economically last year, according to a report out Thursday.
Cities in the developing world, especially China, dominated the top of the annual economic rankings of 300 cities worldwide by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase. One exception: Bangkok, Thailand, came in last, its economy wrecked by political strife.
Macau has enjoyed a tourism boom, with gamblers coming to bet at more than 30 casinos, including the Venetian Macau, the world’s largest.
Cities in wealthy, developed countries tended to lag behind. Though most of the cities surveyed around the world have recovered from the Great Recession, 65 per cent of European and 57 per cent of North American cities have not, according to the study, which ranks cities by growth in employment and in economic output per person. Some highlights:
Joseph Parilla, a Brookings research analyst who co-wrote the report, said he was surprised by the “incredible differentiation within what are considered monolithic economic blocs.” Latin American cities, for instance, mostly sputtered. But Medellin, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, both broke into the top 50.
Cities in wealthy countries tended to perform poorly. But US and British cities showed improvement. Three US cities — Austin and Houston, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina — cracked the top 50. In the United Kingdom, London came in No 26, Manchester No 60.
The United States and Britain have begun to pick up economic momentum 5½ years after the recession ended.
“In developed economies like North America and Western Europe, cities like London and Houston are flying high, while others like Rotterdam and Montreal are struggling,” Parilla said.
Twenty-seven of the 50 top-performing cities were Chinese. Increasingly, strong growth occurred in the traditionally underdeveloped cities of China’s interior, rather than its booming coastal cities. Land-locked Changsha, for instance, enjoyed economic growth per person of 8.6 per cent last year and wound up No 15 in the overall rankings.
The coastal manufacturing powerhouse of Dongguan, next door to Hong Kong, registered per-capita economic growth of just 5.2 per cent (unimpressive by Chinese standards) and finished No 70. Companies have begun to move inland as the cost of labour and land rises on the Chinese coast. And the Chinese government has invested heavily on infrastructure in the interior.