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10 Wealthiest Cities in the World: It’s Not New York or London at the Top

Category: Financial News

What does make a city rich? Is it the people? Is it the culture? Or is it a combination of a lot of things? In most cases, state of wealth at the city level is measured by its Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. The term refers to the market value of all the goods and services offers and provided by a particular locale. In terms of GDP rankings, here are the 10 wealthiest cities in the world today.

10. Shanghai, China

GDP: $516.5 billion
Area: 6,340.5 square kilometers
Population: 23,019,148


With the Chinese economy experiencing a big boom, it is no wonder that a Chinese city will make it to the list. While Beijing is the cultural and political seat of China, Shanghai is known to be its commercial hub and will remain as such for many years to come. Most of its major industries engage in tourism, chemical and steel production sectors and majority of foreign embassies have chosen Shanghai as its home, which greatly adds to the prestige and appeal of the once small fishing village on the Chinese east coast.

9. Moscow, Russia

GDP: $520.1 billion
Area: 2,510 square kilometers
Population: 11,503,501


The Russian capital offers more than their famed vodka and luxurious caviar. That’s for sure. After getting dethroned as the official seat of the country when St. Petersburg was founded, Moscow was reintroduced as the capital city of Russia after the 1917 Revolution. After getting involved in countless wars and historical milestones, Moscow now provides a huge fraction of the country’s supply of food, steel, minerals, and chemicals.

8. Chicago, USA

GDP: $524.6 billion
Area: 606.1 square kilometers
Population: 2,707,120


Chicago is home to the Chicago Bulls, the basketball team that lorded over the basketball scene in the 1990s. It is also home to the deep-dish pizza, a culinary offering rarely found anywhere else. But Chicago is more than just basketball and an Italian dish. The city’s roots are so deep they would trace back to Native Americans that called the Windy City home. Since the modern founding of Chicago in 1833, all the city did was grow and it is still developing up to this day. Current industries found in Chicago are manufacturing, printing and publishing.

7. Osaka, Japan

GDP: $654.8 billion
Area: 552.26 square kilometers
Population: 1,545,410


One of the oldest and historically significant cities in Japan, Osaka’s origins go back to as far as 6 BC. But Osaka’s true beginnings as a city flourished during the Edo Period from 1603 to 1867. Today, only 223 square kilometers of its total land area can be described as an urban metro. The rest of the land is either designated as agricultural and cultural. Tourist attractions include the Osaka Castle and Universal Studios Japan.  Most industries found in the city engage in metal, textile and plastic production.

6. Paris, France

GDP: $669.2 billion
Area: 105.4 square kilometers
Population: 10,413,386


While it has the reputation of being the City of Romance today, Paris went through a very stormy history. That includes countless wars during the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, battles in the Medieval Period, the Black Plague, invasions from Asia, and two World Wars. Today, apart from being the City of Romance, Paris is now the Fashion Capital of the World, with high end clothing labels lined up in their streets and fashion designers and models flocking to the city to make it big. Places worth of attention include the famed Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees, the Louvre Museum and the Arc de Triomphe.

5. London, England

GDP: $731.2 billion
Area: 1,570 square kilometers
Population: 8,173,194


London started out as a Roman settlement called Londinium and soon grew to be a huge city even after the collapse of the Roman Empire. London suffered much throughout the history. There was the Great Fire in 1666, which was then followed by the Black Plague a century after. London also figured as an immensely important city during the two World Wars. The city was a dream destination for many people from different races, cultures, and religions, making London a vital melting pot of the world. Tourist spots worth going when in London are the Buckingham Palace, the Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the world-famous Big Ben clock tower. As far as commerce goes, the city thrives on finance and banking.

4. Seoul, South Korea

GDP: $779.3 billion
Area: 605.21 square kilometers
Population: estimated 10 million


History says that Seoul was founded as early as 17BC and is considered to be one of the oldest surviving settlements in the East Asian region. Seoul suffered heavily during the Second World War against Japan and against China and Korea during the Korean War from 1950 to 1955. When a truce between the two Koreas was formalized, Seoul started to develop as a city and never stopped since. Today, tourists from all over the world flood Seoul, visiting places of note like the Korean War Memorial, Namsan Park, Changdeokgung Palace and the N Seoul Tower. Major businesses anchored in Seoul engage in electronic, textile and iron and steel production.

3. Los Angeles, USA

GDP: $789.7 billion
Area: 1,302 square kilometers
Population: 3,792,621


Known to the world as the City of Angels, the glitzy and plush city of Los Angeles comes from very humble beginnings. Founded as a small village made up of predominantly Spanish-descent settlers, the village evolved to a huge town when Americans won it in 1847. The construction of railroads attracted more settlers and helped build business establishment until it blossomed to the city we know today. While many regard Los Angeles as the filmmaking and showbiz hub in the United States, most businesses found in the city belong to the finance and banking sectors.

2. New York, USA

GDP: $1,210 billion
Area: 1,213square kilometers
Population: 8,244,910


The Big Apple. The City that never sleeps. If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, or so that old Frank Sinatra hit goes. New York is one of the most historically rich cities in the United States, particularly in the East Coast. It figured in the Anglo-Dutch War, where the Dutch won the city but eventually turned it over to the English as decreed via a treaty in 1647.  New York was one of the cities that called for the abolition of slavery in the United States and it also served as an entry port to immigrants from Europe, which made New York into a culturally diverse place that it is today. Attraction in the city includes the Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building.

1. Tokyo, Japan

GDP: $1,520 billion
Area: 2,187.6 square kilometers
Population: 13,185,502


Great things come from small beginnings, or so the old adage goes. And it is the case for Tokyo, Japan. The city’s origins start from being a little fishing village and becoming the country’s seat of power when  Tokugawa Ieyasu ascended to power as Shogun and chose Edo as the location of his headquarters. Edo is the former name of Tokyo. The city suffered a turbulent past – an earthquake in 1923 almost levelled the city which was also the receiving end of extensive bomb runs during the Second World War. After Japan’s surrender in 1945, Tokyo went to rebuild and grew into the most progressive city in the world today. Tokyo’s leading industries are electronics, telecommunications and publishing.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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Richard Harris says:

Thank you for this great article. It's very useful in understanding the trends of urbanization. Let's talk about Los Angeles. There are some understandable misconceptions and inaccuracies in this article. First: Los Angeles is best understood as a Multi-nodal metropolitan region. This is something people often don't appreciate. The City of Los Angeles proper is home to nearly 4 million people. However, the County of LA is comprised of 87 other separate cities, and home to 10.2 million people. Add to this the contiguous counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, San Diego and you are at roughly 20 million. If you have ever flown into or driven through this region you realize that it is one vast and unbroken urban carpet, separate on paper but joined together by roads, real estate development and relationships in a way that is hard to comprehend until you set foot here and SEE it. The primary economic driver of this region is real estate sales and development. This is the engine of the train that took the population from 100,000 in the City of Los Angeles itself in 1900 to over a million just 30 years later. New York grew vertically. Los Angeles spread it's tentacles outward on the footprint of the early Pacific Electric Company, which is now our freeway map. And, to LA's credit, it's trolley system was the largest in the world in 1920, exceeding New York's present rail track tally of 850 miles by nearly 300 miles.

When I refer to LA, I do mean the 5 county Los Angeles megalopolis noted above. LA has a huge oil industry, including wells and refineries. It also has a still vibrant presence in Aerospace manufacturing and development. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are considered by some to the the top 2 of the 30 largest ports in the US. This makes LA a significant distribution and logistics hub. Yes, film and TV is a major economic factor. Moreover, it's prestige is a major element of the phenomenal entrepreneurial synergy of the region. The Culver City/Playa Del Rey zone are now referred to as Silicon Beach, with Google, and other tech giants migrating from the pricey digs of Palo Alto to less costly SoCal alternatives. Not to mention that LA is rapidly eclipsing New York as home to some of the greatest chefs of our time.

This is why LA is #3 on the list of wealthiest "cities".

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Mars Gofyev says:

I expected Hong Kong but didnt see, how comes?

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John Smith says:

London, UK, New York, HK & Tokyo are the most powerful cities, you should also not underestimate the soft-power, political power and cultural influence which London has over almost all cities on this list. London, the most visited, or 'top' city by many rankings (not referring to just economic rankings) is truly the worlds greatest city - just look at the tourists who come here and the regard they hold it in. There are more Chinese tourists drinking tea, and pursuing British culture than there are citizens of many smaller countries!

It's also the most beautiful, what other city can boast of such architectural beauty over such an enourmous expanse, whether its the white stucco villas in Kensington, each worth $15,000,000, or the edwardian neighbourhoods of Muswell Hill, Highgate and Hampstead. No city above is so attractive, yet economically and culturally powerful, nor comes close to this.

That's why its my favourite city and will probably be yours too!

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Chima justus says:

To leave in a wealthy city or place is a privilege and an amazing thing ,the GPS tracking is very correct ,l just want to leave in Tokyo forever

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Annonymous says:

This is awful...most the GDPs are out of date/just plain wrong and they're picking and choosing whether to have metropolitan populations or city populations. By their calculations, LA (city) has a GDP of $780 billion, meaning its 3 Mill population has a gdp per capita of around $200,000...hmmm doesn't seem right does it?

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Frank says:

It is LA metropolitan area gdp therefore there is no picking only population is metropolitan one.

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Ariel Juego Littaua says:

I think if you make it top 50 Metro Manila will surely and certainly belong to the list. But why Tokyo economy isn't decreasing even though Japan is the worse as of now in Asia.

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daphnie cruz says:

The GDP of japan is almost $5 Trillion. The GDP of the philippines is only $320 billion. The reason why they say japan`s economy is stagnant because it has reached its peak in the 1990`s and stayed that way. South Korea only have a GDP of $2 trillion but they have improved from a very poor GDP so their percentage is high.

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Dan says:

Some of these stats are misleading as you are not comparing apples to apples. They are taking a much larger area for tokyo as comared to nyc. They need to count part of NJ to make it more fair comparison. Since the equvenant metro nyc radius extends into there.

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krkseg1ops says:

This is city proper, not metro. Greater Tokyo has over $2 trillion GDP while NYC+Newark+NJ has $1.5 trillion.

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alias says:

Yeah. Definitely Tokyo is the biggest and wealthiest city. I visit so many places but Tokyo is humongous.
when you take a train about 30 mins in any other cities, you will see several houses while taking the train, but in Tokyo you will never see it. All are skyscrapers or high-rise buildings

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Anonymous says:

Wow, interesting article. Now to clarify something, Dubai is richer in terms of income, or GDP per capita, not total GDP. Yeah, it's typical that many European nations are less rich than the Japanese capital, but most of them are small countries. In Europe, you've got the small countries and the big ones like Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia, etc.

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Julius says:

Dubai is way richer than a lot of these places!

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BillRichards says:

Not even close. UAE has a GDP of 358 Billion. Japan has a GDP of 4.8 trillion. USA has a GDP of 19.5 trillion. To put this in perspective American Bill Gates has a net worth of 95 billion, roughly 1/4th of the GDP of the entire UAE and he's just one dude.

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In reply to BillRichards's comment, desdsds says:

mazon's Jeff Bezos beats Bill Gates in new rich list. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now worth $150bn (£113bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Jeff Bezos's net worth has increased by over $60bn in the last 12 months, which makes him the world's richest man.Jul 17, 2018mazon's Jeff Bezos beats Bill Gates in new rich list. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now worth $150bn (£113bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Jeff Bezos's net worth has increased by over $60bn in the last 12 months, which makes him the world's richest man.Jul 17, 2018mazon's Jeff Bezos beats Bill Gates in new rich list. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now worth $150bn (£113bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Jeff Bezos's net worth has increased by over $60bn in the last 12 months, which makes him the world's richest man.Jul 17, 2018 get this

In reply to BillRichards's comment, lolbillsnottherichestanymore says:

mazon's Jeff Bezos beats Bill Gates in new rich list. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is now worth $150bn (£113bn), according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index. Jeff Bezos's net worth has increased by over $60bn in the last 12 months, which makes him the world's richest man.

Ariel Juego Littaua says:

You might be right in some way like huge infrastructure but this is about GDP and even the whole Economy of UAE is aggressively lower than Tokyo and New York city.

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Escape Hunter Travel Blogger says:

It's amazing - Tokyo could be a country!
Its GDP surprasses the GDPs of so many European countries. In fact, one could add lots of countries together and they wouldn't be a match for the Japanese capital.

Reply to this comment »
Ariel Juego Littaua says:

Actually, Tokyo GDP is one of the largest in the world surpassing some developed country in the Western. And Tokyo both GDP and population are greater than Australia, Sweden, Norway, Canada and many more

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In reply to Ariel Juego Littaua's comment, Straya says:

Australia has a GDP of 1.3 trillion USD as of 2017 and over 24 million people as of 2017 so Tokyo is not quite bigger then Australia haha

Sumeet Pande says:

Majority of the population of Japan is concentrated in Tokoy and it's nearby area therefore Tokoy's gdp is Japan's Gdp

Reply to this comment »
In reply to Sumeet Pande's comment, korrekta says:

Not even close, population of tokyo vs all of japan: 13.65 million vs 126 million

marty says:

I love Chicago, the cleaner version of NYC. All those fine dining hangouts, museums, and theaters while having the option to cruise in any of its river channels, I bet it's way better than NYC. LA is not even close.

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Anonymous User says:

Hah... I’d bet you haven’t even been to L.A.! It’s much better that Chicago...

Reply to this comment »
In reply to Anonymous User's comment, nicole says:

honestly, L.A is not as good as people make it. New York and Chicago are so much better

In reply to nicole's comment, Mike says:

I live in Chicago and love it. I visited NYC many, many times while living back east and loved it. I've never been to LA but it seems like it's an awesome place. Just the weather alone makes a great place.

In reply to Anonymous User's comment, Anonymous User says:

That is until your house burns down in LA.

New Yorker says:

Yea...if you get around to doing those things without being murdered. Chicago has also the worst crime rate among big American cities.

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In reply to New Yorker's comment, Chicago Native says:

You might want to check your facts. Chicago ranks 29th in violent crime rate, behind St Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, Atlanta, DC, Philadelphia, Miami, Vegas, among many others. It is 64th in property crime.

The murder rate is higher, 8th, because they tore down all of the projects several years ago and there is a huge drug war going on in the poor areas.

We keep stories about high crime in the news to keep arrogant new yorkers from moving here and destroying the cost of living. Stay out—you’ll get popped.

GGeronimo says:

Here's the deal, if you live in an expensive city expect to pay more for almost everything, meals, utilities, clothing, heck, even parking. So only live in these places if you don't have a choice. Near many of these cities, the suburbs offer a better and more comfortable lifestyle while keeping the city perks close by.

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Michelle says:

I’m not so sure about that I live inNapa California super expensive but worth every dime. I lived in Louisville Kentucky for 12 years much cheaper but you get what you pay for

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lgros003 says:

I think it has a lot to do with personal preference. I grew up in the suburbs and live one of the most expensive cities in the US. I pay less on other things but I think it's worth it it to be able to take advantage of all the museusm, bike to work/walk everywhere/use public transportation, and take advantage of all the cultural events and concerts which don't exist in most suburbs. It's a tradeoff, and I don't think one is better than the other.

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