London leads the list, and New York is second, ahead of others largely because those two have long been regarded as "necessary" places for trade and trends, which is how history, tradition and inertia enter the equation when compiling such as list.
"Inertia and smart use of it is a key theme that emerged in our evaluation of the top global cities. No city better exemplifies this than London, which after more than a century of imperial decline still ranks No. 1 in our survey," Forbes said.
"The United Kingdom may now be a second-rate power, but the City's unparalleled legacy as a global financial capital still underpins its pre-eminence."
Municipalities were ranked according to categories including foreign investment, number of corporate headquarters, business sectors in dominates and ease of air travel to other cities.
The list noted two Indian cities, Delhi and Mumbai, could rise in prestige from their position in the lower 30s, but not soon.
"Until these areas can develop adequate infrastructure, from roads, transit and bridges to relatively non-corrupt judicial systems, none can be expected to crack the top 10, or even 20, for at least a decade. For the time being, the future of the global city belongs not to the biggest or fastest growing but the most efficient and savvy, and those with a strong historical pedigree. This raises the bar for all cities that wish to break into this elite club," the magazine said.
After London and New York, the Forbes Top 10 includes, in order, Paris; Singapore; Tokyo; Hong Kong; Dubai; Beijing; Sydney, Australia and San Francisco, Calif.