Cities with the Most Skyscrapers in 2023

November 7, 2023

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Skyscrapers in Dubai

Skyscrapers have defined city skylines around the world for over a century. Some cities, such as New York City, had a high-rise boom in the early 20th century, whilst other cities have only recently begun building skyscrapers.

A skyscraper is usually defined as a building over 150 meters tall. They often have office space, apartments, and tourist attractions such as observation decks. Many cities build skyscrapers due to the limited space and growing populations. Others build their supertall skyscrapers in a bid to attract tourists and global attention.

Based on data from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, we reveal the ten cities with the most skyscrapers. The buildings included in the data are each over 150 meters tall — many are even over 300 meters tall!

1. Hong Kong

View of Hong Kong skyline with buildings lit up
Hong Kong skyline at sunset
Number of skyscrapers: 552
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: International Commerce Centre (484 m | 1,588 ft)

Hong Kong’s skyline is famous worldwide, thanks to its jungle of high-rise buildings. Although it started life as a small fishing village, the city now has the most skyscrapers of any city in the world, with 552 reaching over 150 meters (492 ft).

Hong Kong’s tallest building is the International Commerce Centre, which measures an incredible 484 meters (1,588 ft). However, this building doesn’t even make the top 10 of the world’s tallest skyscrapers. The International Commerce Centre is a globally recognized financial center and features office space used by international financial companies.

Lack of space and property prices are just two of the reasons for Hong Kong’s collection of towering buildings. The city has a population of just over 7 million, which is approximately 6,749.20 people per square kilometer.

Most of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers were built from the late 20th century onwards. The International Commerce Centre was opened in 2010, while the second and third tallest buildings (Two International Finance Centre and Central Plaza) were opened in 2003 and 1992.

2. Shenzhen

Houhai skyline in the Nanshan District of Shenzhen
Nanshan District, Shenzhen
Number of skyscrapers: 390
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Ping An Finance Center (599 m | 1,965 ft)

Coming in second place is Shenzhen, which is often nicknamed ‘China’s Silicon Valley’. The city is the third most economically and technically developed city after Shanghai and Beijing, and is the headquarters of a number of technology giants such as Huawei and Tencent.

Shenzhen has 390 skyscrapers that reach over 150 meters, six of which are over 300 meters (984 ft). The city’s tallest building is the Ping An Finance Center, which measures 599 meters (1,965 ft). The Ping An Finance Center features office, hotel and retail spaces, including a high-end shopping mall.

The city is the third-most populated in China, with a population of over 12 million. It has a population density of 8,800 per kilometer square (23,000 per meter square). Shenzhen’s population and economy have boomed since the early 1980s, when the city became the first special economic zone of China.

3. New York City

View of New York as taken from a helicopter
New York City skyline
Number of skyscrapers: 316
Country: United States
Tallest skyscraper: One World Trade Center (541 m | 1,776)

The Big Apple has one of the most famous skylines in the world. With 316 buildings that reach over 150 meters (including the iconic Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building), New York City has some of the world’s tallest buildings outside of Asia.

New York City’s tallest building is the One World Trade Center (541 m), which opened in 2014. The building is part of a rebuilt World Trade Center complex, which replaced the buildings destroyed in the September 11 attacks. It has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center and was partially built on the site of the destroyed 6 World Trade Center.

Skyscrapers were first built in New York City at the end of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. The city’s increasing population and limited space forced developers to look up when constructing buildings.

4. Dubai

The skyline of Dubai. The Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building dominates the area.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai
Number of skyscrapers: 258
Country: United Arab Emirates
Tallest skyscraper: Burj Khalifa (828 m | 2,717 ft)

Although Dubai ranks fourth on this list, it has more buildings that reach over 300 meters than any other city in the world. This includes the colossal Burj Khalifa: the world’s current tallest building. The Burj Khalifa measures 828 meters (2,717 ft), which is nearly 150 meters taller than the Warisan Merdeka Tower (the second tallest building in the world). 

Dubai’s economy exploded after oil was discovered in the city in the 1960s. The city doesn’t impose income tax on individuals, which has also attracted countless investors and companies to Dubai. Many of these businesses have invested in large buildings to grow their companies, which has led to some of the tallest buildings in the world. 

Several of the buildings (including the Burj Khalifa) have ‘vanity height’, which means a percentage of space can’t be occupied. In the case of the world’s tallest building, 29% is vanity height. Without the vanity height, the Burj Khalifa would be smaller than 10 buildings in Europe.

5. Guangzhou

City view of Guangzhou at sunset as taken in front of Liede Bridge
Sunset city view of Guangzhou
Number of skyscrapers: 190
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre (530 m | 1,739 ft)

With 190 skyscrapers that exceed 150 meters, Guangzhou ranks fifth on the list. The tallest building in the Chinese city is the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, which measures 530 meters (1,739 ft). The building features a shopping mall, offices, apartments, and a hotel. The Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre construction finished in 2010, although the building wasn’t officially opened until 2016.

Up until the 19th century, most of the city’s buildings were one or two stories tall. The first skyscraper in Guangzhou (the Guangdong International Building)  was built in 1990 at a height of 200 meters (656 ft). At the time, it was the tallest building in China. The city’s skyscraper boom came in the 2010s, when most of the tallest buildings in Guangzhou were built. With the exception of the CITIC Plaza and Huijin Center 1 (which were built in 1996 and 2022), eight of the city’s tallest buildings were built from 2010 to 2018. 

6. Shanghai

Shanghai city skyline lit up at night
The Bund, Wai Tan, Shanghai
Number of skyscrapers: 183
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Shanghai Tower (632 m | 2,073 ft)

Shanghai is one of the world’s largest cities and one of the fastest-growing cities based on its skyscraper construction rate. Thousands of high-rise buildings have been constructed in the city over the past 20 years, including the Shanghai Tower, the city’s tallest building. The Shanghai Tower measures 632 meters (2,073 ft), making it the world’s third tallest building. 

Shanghai experienced a construction boom in the 1920s and 1930s when the city first became an international hub for business and finance. The boom halted after 1949, following the communist takeover. However, Shanghai is currently undergoing a second building boom, which began in the early 1980s. 

183 skyscrapers in Shanghai exceed 150 meters, of which five exceed 300 meters. This includes the Shanghai World Financial Center (which measures 492 m), which is the world’s tallest building with a hole.

7. Tokyo

Tokyo Tower seen from the viewing deck of the Mori building in Roponggi Hills
Tokyo skyline including the Tokyo Tower
Number of skyscrapers: 172
Country: Japan
Tallest skyscraper: Azabudai Hills Mori JP Tower (326 m | 1,068 ft)

With 172 buildings that exceed 150 meters, Tokyo ranks seventh place on this list of cities with the most skyscrapers. However, only one skyscraper in the city exceeds 300 meters: Azabudai Hills Mori JP Tower. The 326 meter (1,068 ft) was opened in 2023 and is Japan’s tallest building.

Skyscrapers are relatively new to Japan. Until 1963, there was a height limit of 31 meters (102 ft) due to aesthetic and engineering concerns. After the ban was lifted, a number of skyscrapers were built, which was helped by a booming post-war Japanese economy. 

Tokyo Skytree has been the tallest structure in Tokyo since 2010. The 634-meter (2,080 ft) tall structure is a broadcasting and observation tower that acts as the primary television and radio broadcast site for the Kantō region of Tokyo. The Tokyo Skytree is the tallest tower in the world and the third tallest structure in the world after the Merdeka 118 and the Burj Khalifa.

8. Kuala Lumpur

Smog casting a hazy shadow over Kuala Lumpur
Smog over Kuala Lumpur
Number of skyscrapers: 164
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Merdeka 118 (679 m | 2,228 ft)

164 of the buildings in Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur are over 150 meters tall. 54 of these are over 200 meters tall and five are over 300 meters. One of these is the Merdeka 118, which measures 679 m (2,228 ft). The giant skyscraper is the world’s second-tallest building and the tallest in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. 

Kuala Lumpur experienced a building boom in the 1970s and 1980s, following the city’s rapid industrialization. In 1971, the Takaful Tower (110 m/ 361 ft) was built, which was Malaysia’s first building over 100 meters. 

The world’s tallest twin buildings (Petronas Tower 1 and Petronas Tower 2) were built in Kuala Lumpur and officially opened in 1999. At a height of 451.9 (1,483), they were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004. The twin buildings were the first skyscrapers outside of the US to be named the tallest in the world.

9. Wuhan

Skyscrapers in Wuhan on the banks of the Yangtze River
Skyscrapers in Wuhan illuminated at night
Number of skyscrapers: 153
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Wuhan Greenland Center (476 m | 1,562 ft)

Ninth on the list is Wuhan in China, which has 153 buildings that are over 150 meters tall. Of this figure, 47 are over 200 meters tall and five measure over 300 meters. The tallest building in the city is the Wuhan Greenland Center, which measures 476 m( 1,562 ft). 

The three tallest buildings in Wuhan were built within four years of one another. The Wuhan Greenland Center was opened in 2023, the Wuhan Center (443 m / 1,454 ft) was opened in 2019 and the Riverview Plaza A1 (376 m / 1,234 ft) was opened in 2021. However, the Wuhan Greenland Center took 10 years to build and was originally planned to measure 636 meters (2,087 ft). 

Wuhan is Central China’s largest city with an estimated population of around 12 million. The city is an important political, economic and financial center in this region of China.

10. Chongqing

Buildings and skyscrapers lit up at night reflected in the still waters of the Yangtze River
Chongqing skyscrapers reflected in the Yangtze River
Number of skyscrapers: 144
Country: China
Tallest skyscraper: Raffles City Chongqing (345.5 m | 1,163 ft)

Chongqing ranks in tenth place of the cities with the most skyscrapers, with 144 buildings that are over 150 meters tall. The two tallest buildings in the city are Raffles City Chongqing T3N and T4N at 345.5 meters. Raffles City Chongqing is an eight-building complex that was built from 2013 to 2019. The complex features a 300-metre-long sky bridge (called the ‘Crystal’) that connects the top of four skyscrapers. This sky bridge is the second-highest in the world and contains multiple dining facilities, a members-only clubhouse and event spaces.

Chongqing has an area of 82,403 km2 (31,816 sq mi), which makes it one of the largest cities in China in terms of land area. The city has a population of just over seven million and a distribution of approximately 1,363 people per square kilometer (3,529 people per square mile). 

50 Cities with the most skyscrapers

RankCityCountryNumber of skyscrapers
1Hong KongHong Kong552
3New YorkUnited States316
4DubaiUnited Arab Emirates258
8Kuala LumpurMalaysia164
11ChicagoUnited States137
20SeoulSouth Korea82
22BusanSouth Korea77
26Panama CityPanama67
29MiamiUnited States58
34IncheonSouth Korea50
40Abu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates44
42HoustonUnited States40
49Johor BahruMalaysia33
50LondonUnited Kingdom33
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