With advancements in technology in the fields of both business and travel over the past decade, the world has become a much smaller place. Enterprises can now tap into the commercial opportunities of most every corner of the globe with relative ease, and while the Internet allows companies in different locations to communicate as if they were in the same office, face to face meetings along with business class flights to local and global destinations will always be necessary.

The following guide by business travel experts SkyClub will give you a helpful countdown of the Top 25 cities in the world when it comes to commerce, life and innovation. Part 2 will look at destinations rated 19th to 14th – from Shanghai to Tokyo.

19 – Shanghai, China

Shanghai is the largest city by population in the People's Republic of China and its financial capital, as well as being the largest city proper by population in the world. It rates first in the category of attracting foreign capital investment and job-creating projects, plus fourth for skyline impact.

Nevertheless, Shanghai sits at the very bottom of the list when it comes to ease of doing business, including starting a business and hiring or firing employees. Furthermore, it ranks third from the bottom for ease of obtaining a visa and literacy.

18 – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population, Abu Dhabi is an ultra capitalist haven which is voted first for its low crime rate and ease of hiring staff. It also ranks second best in the categories of air pollution, commute time, licensed taxis and hospitals per capita.

While Abu Dhabi is highly business friendly, it lags in other areas such as being rather financially unsteady and having very little investment in research and development. The city also ranks last for its carbon footprint, level of shareholder protection and waste recycling.

17 – Beijing, China

Once known as Peking, the capital of the People’s Republic of China is first rate when it comes to hotel rooms and airport access, as well as being voted second best for affordable public transport and fourth best in attracting foreign capital for Green investment. All in all, Beijing has strived to woo international investors - no major city saw a job increase at the same rate during the recession, which is why Brookings named it the world's highest performing city during the downturn and the fourth most dynamic city in the decade before the Great Recession.

The downside of Beijing however is that it is listed last in the category of libraries with public access and second to last for its carbon footprint and traffic congestion.

16 – Seoul, South Korea

As the capital and largest metropolis of South Korea, Seoul proudly holds the crown as being the tech gem of the East - it beats all cities except New York in technological advancement. The city also ranks first for broadband quality and waste recycling, as well as third for software and multimedia development plus maths and science achievement.

The biggest disadvantage of this cutting-edge city is that it stands last in the list for strength of currency. Seoul also lags behind other destinations when it comes to the cultural and lifestyle categories.

15 – Madrid, Spain

As the capital and largest city of Spain, Madrid is one of only three global cities ranked in the top five for both infrastructure and economic prowess. This beautiful city is also voted in second best position for financial and business services employment as well as third for good airport access.

Unfortunately, Madrid suffers from a high ratio of joblessness that has been made worse by Spain's complicated employment laws. It ranks second to last for ease of hiring and starting a business.

14 – Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is not only the capital of Japan, it is the largest metropolitan area in the world. This hub of commerce is a world leader for its number of Global 500 corporate headquarters, and it is also ranked best for software and multimedia development design plus second best when it comes to R&D spending.

Despite these accolades, Tokyo rates only 14th due to its lack of entrepreneurial progress – this is mostly attributed to the outrageously expensive cost of living there (the highest out of all the cities in this list), which naturally discourages young people from taking big risks. In addition to the downside of its exorbitant cost of living, Tokyo also unfortunately ranks last in the category of safety from natural disasters due to seismic earthquake activity (which results from Tokyo being on the boundary of three seismic plates).


Business class flights are far more comfortable than flying economy and they offer many perks to make things easier for professionals who need to travel regularly, but extended time spent in transit can take its toll. The above guide offers some key advice on some of the top rated destinations for commercial activity, to help you decide whether setting up shop abroad is the right way forward for your company.

About the Author: Melissa Fletcher is an independent travel writer on business class flights.