London is the top Western business location

Of those companies profiled, almost two-thirds (63.2%) have an office presence in London. Given the UK Government’s ongoing objective to attract more foreign companies to the UK, further evidence that London remains one of the world’s pre-eminent business centres will be well-received.

London is ranked the fourth most popular business location in the world. Business Footprints ranks Hong Kong, which is home to 68.2% of companies surveyed, as the world’s number one business location, followed by Singapore (67.5%) and Tokyo (63.9%). The top five is completed by Shanghai (61.4%).

The report compares the global office presence of companies across a range of different sectors. Unsurprisingly London, along with New York, was found to be the most popular business location for banking and finance companies, with each city home to 92% of companies in this sector.

The report also ranks London as the top global centre for professional services. Of those professional services companies profiled, which comprised law firms, accountancy firms, management consultants and real estate firms, 94% have an office presence in the Capital. There is a close correlation between the top-ranked cities for the banking and finance and professional services sectors with London, New York, Frankfurt, Paris, Singapore, Milan and Tokyo among the top 10 cities for each. This highlights a long-term trend for professional services firms to congregate in the main financial centres.

According to Business Footprints, London is also among the premier business locations for media technology and telecoms companies. London, alongside Hong Kong, is the top-ranked business location, and home to 79% of companies in the sample. Both are closely followed by Madrid and New York (76% each). The top 10 business locations for this sector includes a number of cities in emerging markets, notably Mumbai and Sao Paulo.

Despite the finding that London is the (joint) top business location across the banking and finance, professional services and the media, technology and telecoms sectors, Business Footprints indicates that a higher proportion of major international companies overall are present in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo.

The high ranking of Hong Kong and Singapore reflects their appeal to international companies as hubs which offer a gateway to the fast-growing Asia region.

Peter Damesick, EMEA Chief Economist, CBRE, said:

“London’s standing as a top global financial centre is of course well-known, but our study highlights its leading position as a location for international businesses across a range of sectors. Of the global companies which have an office presence in London, only 25% are from the banking and finance sector, with London also identified as the leading centre, in terms of companies present, for professional services and the media, technology and telecoms sectors.

“The rapidly expanding Chinese economy is a major factor in the rise of Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai as major commercial centres. However, the expansion of Asia’s banking and finance firms represents an opportunity for London, as organisations seek to establish a presence in the key Western financial hubs. For example, both the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China have had significant requirements for space in London over the past 12-18 months.”

Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive, London First said:

“London, so often characterised as a financial hub, is the premier business location for companies across a number of different sectors.

“A myriad of factors have helped establish the capital as the western world’s premier business centre, but the economic downturn has presented a number of challenges which need to be overcome if London is to retain its global status, particularly as it faces sterner competition from emerging cities in Asia.

“The primary issue is to ensure that London provides the right economic, fiscal and regulatory conditions to attract foreign companies and the best global talent, but it is equally important that the city’s infrastructure keeps pace with its competitors.

“London must aspire to be the best place in the world to do business bar none.”

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