Revealed: Why San Francisco, London and Stockholm are among the top 5 of the World’s Tech Hotspots

Jun 4, 2021 | Skills, UK, USA

Revealed: Why San Francisco, London and Stockholm are among the top 5 of the World’s Tech Hotspots
San Francisco has been crowned top tech hotspot, thanks to its welcoming start-up environment, high Ease of Doing Business score, excellent tech salaries and great education scores, according to new research.

Over the past year, it’s become clear how powerful electronic technology can be – from helping us stay connected across distances, to disseminating crucial news and data in real-time. With the entire world relying on tech devices, particularly recently, the tech race has never been this competitive. Electronics retailer Carphone Warehouse created the World’s Tech Hotspots index to find out which cities around the world are on the winning stretch.

These are the world’s top 10 tech hotspots

It’s probably no surprise that the leader in the World’s Tech Hotspots is San Francisco, home of Silicon Valley. The top 10 cities are detailed below:

1. San Francisco (overall score of 126.74 out of 170): San Fran scores well for factors such as its welcoming start-up environment, a high score for Ease of Doing Business score (84/100), excellent average tech salaries (£89k for software engineers) and great education scores (its top university gets 92.4/100 in the QS Top University Rankings for STEM).

2. New York (125.90): Some of New York’s highest scores include those for Ease of Doing Business (85.2/100), brilliant access to online governance (top marks of 1 on a 0-1 scale), high smartphone penetration (79.1%), and great scores for its start-up culture.

3. London (118.08): London scores well across several metrics, including the joint-highest smartphone penetration percentage of all cities assessed (82.9%, alongside Manchester), great start-up scores, and top scores for education.

4. Boston (117.27): Boston’s MIT takes the city’s education score to the top of the ranks, while other strong factors include high average pay for tech jobs (£69,000 per year), great access to online governance and low web censorship.

5. Stockholm (117.05): Stockholm’s high scores include great smartphone and internet penetration in the population, decent tech freedom scores, and top scores for cutting edge global tech skills.

6. Singapore (116.58): Singapore has the highest broadband speeds and best Ease of Doing Business scores compared to all cities assessed, as well as great scores for social media access and social progress in tech.

7. Copenhagen (115.42): Copenhagen’s top score is for percentage of internet users, although it also scores highly for smartphone and social media access, and affordability of tech.

8. Los Angeles (114.43): For Los Angeles, its top scores are in access to online governance. It also scores well for metrics such as smartphone penetration, start-up environment and lack of web censorship.

9. Sydney (113.32): Sydney scores top marks for the number of tech centres in the city, and also does well for social progress in tech, online governance and tech affordability.

10. Seattle (112.88): Seattle does best for its access to online governance, while also performing strongly for smartphone penetration, STEM education and average pay for tech jobs.

Why Copenhagen and Singapore perform best for tech access

The Access to Tech metrics look at factors such as smartphone penetration, availability of high-speed internet, social media access and affordability of mobile internet. Copenhagen scores highest in the category, with the top 5 cities as follows:

1. Copenhagen (45.32 out of 50), with its top score for percentage of internet users (97.32%).
2. Singapore (43.76), with 10 out of 10 for its super high-speed internet (247.54Mbps).
3. Stockholm (41.25), scoring highest for smartphone penetration at 78.8%.
4. Barcelona (40.26), scoring well for smartphone penetration (74.3%) and percentage of internet users (86.1%).
5. Paris (39.15), with highest scores for smartphone penetration (77.5%).

Beijing gives San Francisco a run for its money for tech industry strength

The factors covered to measure industry strength included number of tech centres in the city, the strength of its start-up ecosystem, the number of unicorns in the city and their Ease of Doing Business score.

The top 5 cities are:

1. San Francisco (scoring 31.17 out of 40), particularly due to its start-up ecosystem.
2. Beijing (30), thanks to the impressive number of unicorns in the city (93).
3. New York (27.75), for its Ease of Doing Business score (85.2) and its great start-up culture.
4. London (25.04), scoring well for its start-up culture and Ease of Doing Business score (83.2).
5. Seoul (24.54), for the number of tech centres in the city, and Ease of Doing Business score (84).

Tallinn shows the world how to make tech free for all

The Tech Freedom category covers factors such as web censorship, social progress from a tech perspective and access to online governance (i.e. online public access to government information and input into social decision making). Estonia’s Tallinn rules this category, with the top 5 below:

1. Tallinn (scoring 28.63 out of 30), for top scores thanks to its low web censorship and good access to online governance.
2. Tokyo (27.91), due to its high performance across all three metrics, including 0.9881 out of 1 for access to online governance.
3. Yokohama (27.91), thanks to high performance across the three metrics for the category, including 90.14 out of 100 for its social progress in tech.
4. Copenhagen (27.64), scoring 10/10 for social progress in tech, and good web censorship.
5. Amsterdam (27.34), for great access to online governance and social progress in tech.

While New York tops the metrics, there are global picks for tech education and careers

The Education & Careers metrics factor in access to quality education, average pay for tech jobs, the university rankings of top STEM schools and global technology skillset. New York wins out for students and workers in the tech field, with the top 5 as follows:

1. New York (37.52 out of 50), with 5 universities in the QS Top Universities rankings for STEM subjects.
2. San Francisco (34.94), with top scores for average tech salaries (£89,000 per annum for software engineers).
3. Munich (34.60), scoring well for its population’s cutting edge technology skillset.
4. Berlin (34.23), for its technology skillset, and high scores for access to quality education.
5. Tokyo (33.53), thanks to access to high quality education and top scores for STEM subjects.

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