Shanghai ranks first among Chinese cities in preparedness to manage financial uncertainty, according to a survey of 17 major business centers in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the "Prepped Cities Index" in a report by real estate consultancy Cushman &Wakefield, Singapore; Melbourne, Australia; and Shanghai are the three best-prepared cities among the 17 Asia Pacific cities it reviewed. The survey assessed macroeconomic, structural and defensive factors, as well as social indicators in built-up environments.
"Chinese cities performed very well… with great potential to improve further in years to come given their relentless drive to modernize," said James Shepherd, managing director of Greater China research at Cushman &Wakefield.
All five Chinese cities reviewed-Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong-ranked among the top 10, showing their high level of preparedness for future uncertainties.
The survey looked at eight indicators across built environments (including rent volatility, obsolescence and sustainability) and governance and environment (including governance, terrorism, talent, susceptibility and cybersecurity).
"This index uses a combined approach of assessment to help identify which cities are best prepared to deter and manage a crisis against future uncertainty," said Dominic Brown, head of Asia-Pacific research for the consultancy.
Given that real estate is a pillar of the regional economy, coupled with the massive amounts of investment in the built environment, the real estate industry can directly play a role in making cities better prepared for the future, the report said.
Shanghai has outshined all the other cities in terms of real estate preparedness, boasting low cost volatility and a robust pipeline of new office space.
The East China city showed no specific weaknesses in governance and environmental factors, the report said. Its cybersecurity index can be improved with an amendment made in China's cybersecurity law last year, which had a comprehensive set of data protection provisions written in the form of national-level legislation for the first time, Shepherd said.
Shenzhen ranked fifth on the list. The city scores high on both rent volatility and sustainability indexes, thanks to an ample amount of green buildings.
"This means occupiers and investors in Shenzhen are well-positioned to prevent significant future rental fluctuations and environmental incidents," said Catherine Chen, the consultancy's head of the forecasting and capital markets research for Greater China.
Shepherd said the report will help real estate players better prioritize and direct their strategies. Occupiers can adopt a proactive approach to devise and evaluate their corporate real estate portfolio strategy to account for factors such as preparedness.
"For investors and developers, the index can help landlords refine risk adjusted returns and identify suitable programs of capital expenditure as well as be ready to respond to occupiers' preparedness requests and changing needs," Chen said.