Ranking cities remains a highly inexact science, whatever the yardstick used. It should always be taken with a grain of salt. Still, the fact that Hong Kong has, yet again, been named the most competitive city in China is cause for comfort at this difficult time. The city has taken the top position seven years running since the annual research by the China Institute of City Competitiveness was first released in 2002. As the survey has been conducted by the same institution using consistent criteria, there is credibility to the rankings. Nor should we be entirely surprised by them. The annual study assigns scores to 289 Chinese cities by considering their productivity, technological advancement, core industries and enterprises, governance, social security, international status and cultural activities. Despite the mainland's economic miracle, Hong Kong is still, undeniably, the nation's most developed financial hub, a well-established business bridge to the rest of the world. Indeed, we are still miles ahead. Our city scored 5,576 points, well ahead of Beijing, in second place with a score of 3,827, and Shanghai, which came third with 3,714 points. Undeniably, some mainland cities are catching up, but they still have a long way to go. This year's survey adds a new ranking for cities most able to withstand the global financial crisis. Again, Hong Kong comes out on top. Too often, we lose confidence and are scared by shadows. We survived and prospered after the Asian financial meltdown and the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. There is no doubt that we will emerge even stronger after the current global crisis. People often forget how robust our economy really is because we tend to take our institutions for granted. Nevertheless, we must not be complacent. According to earlier surveys by the institute, some mainland cities such as Hangzhou and Chengdu are more pleasant to live in; and Shenzhen has become more innovative technologically than we are. These are areas we need to improve upon if we truly want to stay ahead.