ON TOP OF THE WORLD

Bengaluru is the world’s fastest-changing city

Namma Bengaluru.
Namma Bengaluru.
Image: Reuters/Vivek Prakash
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India’s Silicon Valley is the world’s most dynamic city.

Bengaluru has topped a ranking of 131 world cities based on their ability to change, innovate, and adjust to constantly evolving circumstances. Hyderabad, which topped last year, is at the second place this time.

The ranking was published by investment management firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) yesterday (Jan. 15) and it tracked a wide array of metrics to assess socio-economic and commercial real estate momentum including a city’s GDP, population, corporate headquarters, foreign direct investment, rent absorption, transparency and more.

“Bengaluru…has an established reputation worldwide for the design and development of technology and electronics. Along with attracting many international companies, it has a vibrant startup culture; it is home to five of India’s eight unicorns (companies valued over US$1 billion),” JLL’s research stated.

The city houses the headquarters for India’s largest IT outsourcing firms such as Infosys and Wipro and new internet startups like ride-hailing app Ola and on-demand grocer BigBasket. It is also the India hub for a bunch of global tech firms, including IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, and Salesforce.

Six cities from India made it to the top 20 in JLL’s ranking this year. Just two years ago, nearly half of the top 20 cities comprised European and American ones, but now there are none:

Some of India’s fastest-growing cities have been attracting high levels of foreign direct investment. And efforts from the state are looking up, too.

“Post the implementation of landmark policy reforms such as RERA (real estate regulatory authority) and GST (goods and services tax) coupled with a focus on improving infrastructure and improving ease of doing business, the government’s reforms-driven agenda and measures are expected to bring in more transparency in the real estate sector and give a strong impetus to the sector,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO and country head of JLL India.

Still, absorbing rapid growth doesn’t come easy. Adverse effects include “increasing lack of appropriate infrastructure, congestion, and environmental degradation,” the report noted. “Additionally, within the urban population, inequality levels are growing along with fears about affordability.”