News release

Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen listed in Global Top 15 Innovative Markets

JLL’s latest Innovation Geographies report highlights strong performance by Chinese cities in the global innovation scene

February 14, 2022

Tammy Hu

Head of Marketing, China
+86 21 6133 5387

Sara Wang


Shanghai, February 14, 2022 – As the global economy continues to improve despite ongoing challenges, innovation-oriented industries and talent availability will be key growth drivers for the next cycle of urban and real estate recovery. According to JLL’s (NYSE: JLL) new research, Innovation Geographies, cities performing best on these measures will be well-positioned for economic growth post-pandemic, demonstrating a strong link between innovation, talent ecosystem and real estate performance.

The U.S. continues to dominate the global innovation scene. Silicon Valley (San Jose), Tokyo and San Francisco stand out as epicenters of innovation.

In Asia Pacific, Beijing is joined by Seoul and Tokyo in the top 10 markets, indicating that Beijing has become one of the leading innovative cities in the world. Shanghai and Shenzhen are among the key players, ranking 11th and 13th, respectively. With Chinese cities improving their innovation capability, China is ready to turbocharge sustainable growth globally.

Tokyo and Beijing lead the way in Asia Pacific in talent density, with top universities and a high concentration of people employed in the innovation economy. Although with a lower percentage in the list, Asia Pacific cities are catching up rapidly, with Sydney, Seoul and Hong Kong magnetizing world-class talents and corporations.

Combining the innovation and talent concentration data, cities with similar characteristics have been grouped into six clusters in the table above:

Global leaders

World leaders on innovation and talent. Includes: Beijing, Paris and San Francisco.

Talent rich

Strong performance on both metrics but with a focus on talent. Includes: Stockholm, Denver and Hong Kong.

Innovation centric

Strong performance on both metrics but with a focus on innovation. Includes: Chicago, Barcelona and Singapore.

Emerging innovators

Strength in innovation but with a lower talent concentration. Includes: Mumbai, Guangzhou and Hyderabad.

Skilled centers

Strength in talent but with lower levels of world-class innovation ecosystems. Includes: Brisbane, Hamburg and Nashville.

Local hubs

Cities with less developed or diversified innovation and talent. Includes: Leeds, Busan and Tampa.

Despite ongoing challenges brought by the pandemic, ‘Global Leaders’, such as San Francisco, London and Beijing, will maintain their dominance in the innovation economy. However, rising stars like Shanghai, Berlin and Toronto are rapidly transforming into global talent and innovation powerhouses. Significant changes are also underway as Indian and Chinese cities (e.g., Bengaluru and Guangzhou) continue to scale their innovation ecosystems for transformation.

Innovative cities are favored by investors and enterprises

The report suggests that investors favor cities with stronger innovation vitality and talent aggregation, as such geographies perform better over the long term. Many venture capital firms have identified cities with robust innovation ecosystems as future core growth areas.

With the recovery of the global economy from the pandemic, the 'War for Talent' is back in the spotlight. The dominance of ‘Global Leaders’ as corporate hubs will continue owing to the critical mass of talent, diverse industry mix, anchor institutions, and agglomeration benefits.

As Julien Zhang, JLL China CSO, points out, “With the resilient performance in the innovation scene, China is becoming one of the global innovation hubs. The stimulating economic and social innovations also leads to the need for a more transparent real estate market which encourages efficient, friendly and innovative space solutions, helping companies better manage costs and create a safer workplace and communities."

Download the JLL ESG Impacts on Business Valuations (English version) here

About JLL

JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. JLL shapes the future of real estate for a better world by using the most advanced technology to create rewarding opportunities, amazing spaces and sustainable real estate solutions for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.6 billion in 2020, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 95,000 as of September 30, 2021. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit