Technology hub Hyderabad has edged out 129 other cities in the world to emerge as the world's most dynamic city, according to the seventh edition of the City Momentum Index by global real estate services firm JLL.
The city has pushed Bengaluru to second place to regain the top position after a gap of one year. Chennai is at fifth and Delhi is at sixth place.
While Hyderabad and Bengaluru are the top two cities globally for socio-economic momentum, a more active real estate market helped elevate Hyderabad to first position in the overall ranking, says the report released by the US-based Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL) on Saturday night.
Hyderabad recorded the highest office net absorption in 2019 (as a proportion of existing stock) of any city globally, while it is also among the world's best-performing cities for prime office rental growth.
While all seven major Indian cities feature in this year's Global Top 20, cities in south India in particular - Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai (5th) "are ahead of their northern peers, supported by favourable demographics and business climates".
"Their expanding tech industries and start-up cultures make them a magnet for young and ambitious talent from across the country, with Bengaluru having one of the world's largest concentrations of 'engine room' population (20-40 year olds), typically the most dynamic and productive age cohort," says the report.
Kolkata and Mumbai made it to the top 20, and stood at the 16th and 20th positions. Despite an economic slowdown, India leads the 2020 Index with seven Indian cities in the top 20.
"Commercial real estate in south Indian cities is growing at a rapid pace. Hyderabad has seen tremendous growth in 2019 in line with that of Bengaluru. The city has actively embraced technology driven economic growth and attracted large tech giants and e-commerce players. The state government's focus on business friendly policies and provision of high quality infrastructure along with availability of quality talent pool and superior quality business parks has given Hyderabad a competitive edge," said Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head - India, JLL.
Telangana's Minister for Information Technology and Industry K T Rama Rao said he was thrilled over Hyderabad not only regaining the top slot but also over the fact that it was competing with cities like Shenzhen and Shanghai in innovation economy.
The minister said 50 percent weightage from socio-economic indicators beside the remaining 50 percent from commercial and real estate was also heartening.
KTR, as the minister is popularly known, noted that in 2014 when Telangana attained statehood, Hyderabad was not even in the list. He recalled that when Telangana was formed there were many doubts as to what would happen to Hyderabad. "It entered the top 20 in 2015 and rose to fifth place in 2016 and third position in 2017. Hyderabad topped the list in 2018 and finished second the last year. This year it is back at the top," he said.
The JLL City Momentum Index identifies a number of key growth drivers, including talent attraction, the expansion of innovation hubs and better urban planning, that cities can employ to meet the challenges faced by rapid momentum.
Several cities in the top 20 stand out as they transform their urban environments in pursuit of a low-carbon future. In India, Hyderabad is looking at technology to reduce the demand for air conditioning with cool roofs that reflect sunlight and absorb less heat, it said.
"The growth of "micro-mobility" is another positive step, illustrated by Hyderabad's introduction of smart bikes and electric cars. Smart city solutions, such as bike rentals, improved quality of life, help increase inclusion and aid in the transition to a low carbon environment."