The world's biggest firms are increasingly setting up shop in Asia's booming economies, a survey said Wednesday, as Hong Kong topped a list of the world's most popular cities for global businesses.
The financial hub topped the list despite soaring property costs, which saw become the most expensive city to rent office space last year.
Asian cities grabbed four of the top five spots in the study by real-estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis, with Singapore in second place, followed by Tokyo, London and Shanghai.
"Asia’s dominance in (the) ranking of the world’s leading business hubs is striking," said the report, entitled Business Footprints: Global Office Locations 2011, which analysed office locations for 280 international firms.
About 68 percent of the respondents, or 191 firms, had an office in Hong Kong while about 67.5 percent, or 189 companies, had an office in Singapore, it said.
Moscow, Beijing, Madrid, Dubai and Paris rounded out the top 10, with New York in 11th place, the report said.
London and New York remained dominant in banking and finance with 92 percent of firms in those sectors having an office in the cities, followed by Hong Kong, CB Richard Ellis said.
The southern Chinese city ranked first for media, technology and telecoms firms, it added.
Hong Kong is in a "unique position" for due to its location, lack of foreign ownership rules, tri-lingual mix and international, highly-skilled workforce, said Edward Farrelly, director of the real-estate firm's research for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
"It is the key gateway city for accessing China and is set to benefit most from the gradual liberalisation of the Chinese financial services markets," he added.
But Hong Kong's tight office space market could push firms to choose other business centres in the region, Farrelly warned.
"Global corporate strategies are increasingly focused on cost efficiency and the lack of available office space in Hong Kong is proving counterproductive," he said.
A study earlier this year found that Hong Kong was the world's most expensive place to rent office space in 2010, despite government efforts to cool the property market.
The average price of office property per workstation rose by almost a third from a year earlier in Hong Kong to $22,330, surpassing the 2009 leader, London's West End, which cost $20,160, the report said.