London, Europe’s ‘capital of technology’
Ok, so London Heathrow Airport may not be the leading international airport – that honour currently goes to Dubai – but London has gained significant ground in another area, that of technology. This week, it has been reported that London’s claim that it is Europe’s ‘silicon capital’ has been given a resounding boost as a record number of foreign technology companies take up residence in the Britain’s capital city.
In 2013, as many as 90 overseas technological firms based themselves in London, an increase on the previous year, according to figures generated by Mayor Boris Johnson’s inward investment agency. The majority of these companies originated from America, for example, the well-known social networking business, LinkedIn; a few were from China, with the remaining from Europe, such as the French digital marketing organisation, Solocal.
This rise in technology companies in London has raised hopes that from this new economic powerbase, we may finally move away from our dependency on the financial sector, and judging from predictions, it looks like this trend could well continue in 2014! David Slater from investment agency, London & Partners, believes that the momentum is gathering, and not just in the capital, adding: “It’s bubbling up in places like Croydon and Soho where you have got creative and technology companies joining together.”
For example, remember that awesome movie Gravity? Well, the special effects were predominantly generated by a company called Framestore, and where are they based? Yes, you’ve guessed it, London… Well, Soho, to be precise; but the point is that it’s this combination of technology and creativity at such high standards that is encouraging the idea that London is unique, the city that boasts a wide range of world-class technology and capabilities.
The biggest investment by any one company in settling their headquarters in London is, of course, Google who are now based in King’s Cross, but there have also been a record number of foreign investments by companies in the creative sector and business services.
Solocal, the French organisation, who are based in Shoreditch, believe that moving to London was the ‘natural’ choice form them as they seek new markets and develop new international opportunities. Bruno Berthezene, the company’s UK Manager, explained: “By being in London, we are able to access more brands and partners to work with, in a city with great digital and retail ecosystems.”
In total, London saw 260 major foreign investments in 2013, creating an estimated 4,407 new jobs within the first year of operation, rising to 9,141 new jobs after 3 years… now that’s impressive!
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