Global innovation hubs: Singapore remains No 1, Hong Kong ranked ninth amid coronavirus pandemic

Hong Kong has become more competitive among global tech hubs outside Silicon Valley, but Singapore remains at the top, according to new research by global auditing company KPMG.

Hong Kong moved up one spot from last year to come in ninth in a ranking of leading innovation hubs over the next four years, according to a survey of more than 800 technology industry leaders released on Monday.

Unlike many other industries, tech has thrived during the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing the perception that innovation can happen anywhere, according to Alex Holt, Global Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at KPMG.

“However … physical workplaces and innovation hubs remain a key component of technology companies’ strategies, although they may not be located around Silicon Valley,” he said in a statment.

The long-term rivals were not the only Asian cities chosen as leading global innovation hubs outside California’s tech Mecca.


Beijing, the capital of rising tech powerhouse China, placed fourth after New York and Tel Aviv while Shanghai landed sixth following London.

Tokyo and Bangalore, the capital of southern Indian state Karnataka, came in seventh and eighth respectively. US cities Seattle and Austin share the 10th spot on the list in KPMG’s 2021 Technology Innovation Hubs report.

The most important ingredients for a technology hub, according to respondents, were an urban environment attractive to young professionals, a pipeline of skilled talent and modern infrastructure, including high-speed internet.

The Covid-19 pandemic has proved to be a major influence on choosing where and how to work for tech companies. A large majority – 61 per cent of those surveyed – said the pandemic has changed their opinion of which cities will become leading technology hubs.

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The survey also showed that tech leaders are undecided about the future of Silicon Valley itself in a post-pandemic world.

While 32 per cent said that the home of Google and Facebook will maintain its lead over the next four years, the same percentage said they believe it will not. Even more survey respondents, 36 per cent, were undecided about whether Silicon Valley will remain the world’s centre for the tech industry.

Only 22 per cent of respondents, however, said they believe innovation hubs have lost their importance.

The results confirmed an earlier KPMG survey on tech CEOs which found that 78 per cent have no plan to downsize their physical footprint while just over a quarter, 26 per cent, plans to hire predominantly remote workers.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post.


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