These 10 facts prove London is still open for business

London has been a global nerve centre for nearly 2000 years and has no plans to abdicate now.

These 10 facts prove London is still open for business
Photo: Benjamin Davies/unsplash

England’s capital is a beehive of culture, cuisine, knowledge and business. So it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the world’s best cities for homegrown and foreign talent.

But don’t just take our word for it, here are ten facts that prove it.

1. It’s one of the world’s most connected cities

London is one of the most influential cities in the world, a title it couldn’t lay claim to without fantastic connectivity (we’re not just talking about its broadband connection which, incidentally, is everywhere). 

The city has six major airports; Heathrow, its biggest, handles more international passengers than any other airport in the world. Collectively, London’s airports offer direct flights to 369 international destinations, including 9,340 flights from Europe and 1,029 from North America. 

The timezone means business, too – you can start your work day with a conference call to Tokyo and end it with an online catch up with Los Angeles.

2. It’s one of the world’s top two financial centres

London has been a behemoth of global trade and finance for centuries. It laid the foundations for modern banking and devised the first modern international capital markets. These days, it’s also shaping the future of finance in fields like blockchain, Fintech and green finance.

A staggering 37 percent of global foreign exchange trading happens in London and it’s home to more bank HQs than anywhere else in the world; nine of the world’s top 100 banks are based in the capital, employing 150,000 workers.

London continues to dominate the European tech investment landscape. According to end of year investment data by London & Partners and PitchBook, Britain’s tech sector attracted more venture capital investment and tech IPOs than any other European hub in 2018, with the capital’s firms receiving £1.8 billion (72 per cent) of the total £2.49 billion raised by British tech firms. These high levels of growth capital are helping London’s businesses to grow and scale.  

3. It’s a global centre of learning


Ranked the best city in the world for international students, London is home to four universities in the world’s top 40 – more than other other city. Each year, 380,000 students study in the capital, with 112,000 international students from over 200 countries. 

4. It has a diverse talent pool 

Of course, along with hundreds of thousands of skilled graduates comes an inevitably diverse talent pool. The city is a melting pot of highly-skilled workers hailing from across the globe.

Tech companies can take their pick: London is the number one destination in Europe for international technology workers, according to recent figures from LinkedIn and Stack Overflow. In 2018, it welcomed more European and non-EU tech professionals than any other major European city and is second only to the US in the number of highly-qualified AI experts. Its deep talent pool is among the reasons global VC firms put more money into London than any other technology hub.

5. It’s home to world-class expertise

Photo: Robert Bye/unsplash

London is, and always has been, a bastion of innovation. It fosters a creative climate with 181 incubators and accelerators feeding into Europe’s largest concentration of tech companies. 37 percent of Europe’s total unicorn companies are in the capital which is one of the world’s richest and most open data cities. But it’s not just tech where the city excels. It’s a world-renowned medical research centre, a creative vanguard and hosts a buoyant legal sector.

6. There’s a lively international environment

London is a cultural melting pot with 233 languages spoken by a daytime population of 10 million people. Intercultural influence is evident everywhere – from the city’s cuisine and culture to knowledge and innovation.

As such, it’s a magnet for international entrepreneurs. Kristo Käärmann and Taavet Hinrikus, the Estonian co-founders of TransferWise, Portuguese founder of Farfetch Jose Neves and American banker and founder of Deliveroo, William Shu, all call London home.

Find resources and information in London’s Jobs and Talent toolkit

7. There are endless opportunities

There are 5.92 million jobs in the capital with 235,000 new high-skill jobs added between 2013-2016. New startups are constantly forming in the city with the average early-stage startup funding coming in at €392k ($451k) compared to the global average of €219k ($252k). The opportunities are there, you just have to take them.

8. There’s plenty planned for the future

If you thought London was done developing, you’ve got another think coming. 

Photo: Jonathan Chng/unsplash

King’s Cross, a district in the heart of London and the city’s Knowledge Quarter, is an ever-expanding nucleus of technology and research. In November 2016, Google confirmed plans to build a new HQ in the district, its first wholly-owned and custom-designed campus outside of the United States. Social media giant Facebook has also leased three new offices in the King’s Cross area, due to open in 2021.

Of course, there’s more to the city than tech companies. The new Elizabeth line, which opens later this year, will connect London’s major airports; a 750,000 sq. ft expansion of Westfield shopping centre in West London will mean more bars, restaurants and boutique shops; and innovative new venues like Red Bull’s Gaming Sphere in Shoreditch promise to root London even more firmly on the gaming map.

9. Its lifestyle and culture is second to none


London is one of the world’s most culturally exciting cities. World-class theatres, 857 art galleries and 215 museums draw in culture buffs from across the world. The capital also has four UNESCO world heritage sites: the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich, Westminster Palace and Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Its food and drink scene is among the best and most bountiful in the world; there are 71 Michelin starred restaurants and over 3,530 pubs – so you’ll never have to walk too far for a pint.

10. It actively wants to continue being diverse and international

Which is why it’s developed the Jobs and Talent toolkit, an online portal providing guidance on talent for businesses and individuals, busting myths and demonstrating that talent remains strong in London.

This article was produced by The Local Creative Studio and sponsored by London and Partners.


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‘A great day for consumers in Europe’: EU votes for single smartphone charger

The EU parliament on Tuesday passed a new law requiring USB-C to be the single charger standard for all new smartphones, tablets and cameras from late 2024 in a move that was heralded a "great day for consumers".

'A great day for consumers in Europe': EU votes for single smartphone charger

The measure, which EU lawmakers adopted with a vote 602 in favour, 13 against, will – in Europe at least – push Apple to drop its outdated Lightning port on its iPhones for the USB-C one already used by many of its competitors.

Makers of laptops will have extra time, from early 2026, to also follow suit.

EU policymakers say the single charger rule will simplify the life of Europeans, reduce the mountain of obsolete chargers and reduce costs for consumers.

It is expected to save at least 200 million euros ($195 million) per year and cut more than a thousand tonnes of EU electronic waste every year, the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager said.

The EU move is expected to ripple around the world.

The European Union’s 27 countries are home to 450 million people who count among the world’s wealthiest consumers. Regulatory changes in the bloc often set global industry norms in what is known as the Brussels Effect.

“Today is a great day for consumers, a great day  for our environment,” Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s pointman on the issue, said.

“After more than a decade; the single charger for multiple electronic devices will finally become a reality for Europe and hopefully we can also inspire the rest of the world,” he said.

Faster data speed

Apple, the world’s second-biggest seller of smartphones after Samsung, already uses USB-C charging ports on its iPads and laptops.

But it resisted EU legislation to force a change away from its Lightning ports on its iPhones, saying that was disproportionate and would stifle innovation.

However some users of its latest flagship iPhone models — which can capture extremely high-resolution photos and videos in massive data files — complain that the Lightning cable transfers data at only a bare fraction of the speed USB-C does.

The EU law will in two years’ time apply to all handheld mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, portable speakers, handheld videogame consoles, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, mice and portable navigation systems.

People buying a device will have the choice of getting one with or without a USB-C charger, to take advantage of the fact they might already have at least one cable at home.

Makers of electronic consumer items in Europe agreed a single charging norm from dozens on the market a decade ago under a voluntary agreement with the European Commission.

But Apple refused to abide by it, and other manufacturers kept their alternative cables going, meaning there are still some six types knocking  around.

They include old-style USB-A, mini-USB and USB-micro, creating a jumble of cables for consumers.

USB-C ports can charge at up to 100 Watts, transfer data up to 40 gigabits per second, and can serve to hook up to external displays.

Apple also offers wireless charging for its latest iPhones — and there is speculation it might do away with charging ports for cables entirely in future models.

But currently the wireless charging option offers lower power and data transfer speeds than USB-C.