Many cities in emerging markets are attracting a similar number of international office occupiers as established business centers, according to a new study by CB Richard Ellis (CBRE).
According to 'Business Footprints', which compares the office presence of 280 major companies across 101 countries and 232 cities, 17 of the top 30 most popular company office locations are in emerging markets.
At a time of ongoing global economic flux, this finding reinforces the significance of the 'BRIC' (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and less developed emerging markets to international business operations.
CBRE's research identified Shanghai and Moscow as the most popular business locations across all emerging markets. Shanghai is home to 172 of the companies profiled (61.4%), and is closely followed by Moscow, where 170 (60.7%) are present.
Beijing is the next highest ranked business center across all emerging markets, with 169 of the 280 companies (60.4%) surveyed having an office presence in the city.
The high ranking of both Chinese cities is explained by two things: China's importance as an off-shoring location and a manufacturing base (which, in turn, requires an office presence), and its growing status as a consumer market for both locally manufactured and foreign-made goods.
Other cities in the rapidly expanding 'BRIC' markets which rank among the world's top 30 business locations include Sao Paulo (52.1% of companies surveyed have an office in the city), and Mumbai (43.2%).
The report also indicates a number of cities in less developed emerging markets are home to a significant proportion of international companies.
Dubai is ranked as the ninth most popular business location overall and Warsaw is 12th, reflecting the fact that both have developed into strategic business hubs in their region.
While Warsaw is an important business hub in Europe, the additional presence of Budapest (20th), Prague (21st), and Bucharest (29th) in the report's top 30 list highlights the rising importance of many Central and Eastern European markets for international businesses in Europe.
Richard Holberton, Director of EMEA Research at CBRE, said: "Our finding that over half of the world's most popular office locations are outside of the most economically developed nations underlines the importance major companies are placing on gaining access to new markets to fuel their growth.
"It is particularly interesting to note the position of a number of emerging markets relative to established cities in developed economies. For example, Shanghai, Moscow, Beijing and Dubai feature in the top 10 most popular business locations, with more international companies present than in Paris (56%), New York (55%) and Milan (53%).
"In addition, one would not necessarily expect that second-tier emerging markets like Bangkok (48.9%) and Istanbul (41.1%) would have a comparable presence of major office occupiers to places like Sydney (48.6%) and Frankfurt (38.2%).
"While 'emerging markets' is a broad term, the key characteristic of the cities outside the advanced economies which have high numbers of international company offices is that there are principally in the world's faster growing economies."
Source: CB Richard Ellis