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Beijing the most global city in China

SHANGHAI -- Beijing has made it into the top 10 of the world's most global cities for the first time, ranking eighth in the A.T. Kearney Global Cities Index.

The index, introduced in 2008 by the global consulting firm, includes 84 cities.

Beijing scored an overall 3.5 in five categories, including business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience and political engagement. It stood out from other Chinese cities in terms of the number of Fortune 500 companies, international schools, broadband subscribers and museums.

New York, London and Paris have held fast to their positions as first through third since 2012.

“The increasing global importance of Chinese companies has helped catapult Beijing to fourth place on the business activity dimension. This, together with some improvement in scores for human capital and cultural exchange, has been more than enough to offset declining relative performance in information exchange and international political engagement,” A.T. Kearney experts explained.

Johnson Chng, managing director of A.T. Kearney Greater China, said, “Clearly Beijing went up in the ranking due to its rising importance as a business center in addition to being the political center of China.”

However, he added, the air pollution issue is now a growing concern for many Beijing residents that, if not addressed soon, will cause an outflow of talent.

“In fact, many of my friends and business associates have moved out of Beijing in the last six months, and many are indeed contemplating the idea, too, for the sake of their family,” he said.

In a recent survey conducted by MRIC Group, an international executive recruitment firm, 47.3 percent of the 269 respondents in Beijing said they would like to relocate this year because of air quality concerns. The most-preferred destinations are North America, Shanghai, Europe, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand.

As human capital is weighing ever more among the five categories, some companies have to improve the working environment to retain talent regarding the air quality in Beijing.

“Companies should prepare air purifiers especially when the buildings don't have such machines,” said Robert Parkinson, founder and managing director of the international recruitment group RMG Selection.

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