How Seoul is keeping pace among the top global cities

High-tech and high-rise, South Korea’s capital has come into its own as a twenty-first century city.

November 06, 2017

High-tech and high-rise, South Korea’s capital has come into its own as a twenty-first century city.


With its modern infrastructure, exceptionally high levels of connectivity and its leading position in tech and engineering-related industries, Seoul now stands among the top global cities – whether Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo in Asia or London, Paris and New York further afield, according to the Universe of City Indices 2017: Decoding City Performance report.

“Seoul did exceptionally well in terms of innovation eco-systems due to its engineering capabilities and high-tech industries possessing a depth of knowledge,” says Jeremy Kelly, Director of Research, JLL. “Economically, its impressive infrastructure – transport, logistics, telecoms and digital connectivity – is a strong pillar for future growth.”

Meanwhile its increasing cultural influence on both Asia and the wider world can be seen with the record-breaking views of K-pop videos such as Gangnam Style and the cult status of its beauty brands.

The city is becoming an increasingly popular destination for expats working at multinational firms while its strong domestic talent pipeline is fuelled by a solid national education system and a thriving student population that draws young people from across the country.

“Seoul is the epicentre of business, technology, education and pop culture relevance in South Korea. And the government is continuing to invest in developments that support industries and businesses while making the city more pedestrian-friendly and liveable,” says Sungmin Park, Senior Manager, JLL Korea Research.

Projects such as Seoullo 7017, an elevated lush walkway fashioned from a disused overpass and the Magok District with its Industrial Complex touted to be the country’s largest, state-of-the art innovation complex, are among the latest developments.

Watch the video above to find out more about what’s underpinning Seoul’s growth story and the challenges it faces to remain in the top group of global cities.