City of London Set To Become Next Global Tech Hub

Think you know the city?

London has been a centre of thriving commerce for over 2000 years, and is one of the most cosmopolitan cities worldwide. In a new report commissioned by the City Property Association (CPA) and the City of London Corporation, the city authorities assess the impact of the tech sector on the Square Mile. The aim is to better  understand what needs to be done to attract and retain the digital businesses which will pioneer the future economy. The CPA represents over 170 property owners, developers and investors in Central London, whilst the City of London Corporation collectively represents the Mayor, Commonalty and Citizens. The report itself, titled ‘Tech X The City’, was carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, KPMG and DISRUPTIONHUB.

Through in depth interviews with landlords, corporates and startups, the Tech X The City report identified a natural link between traditional establishments and innovative tech companies. It was also revealed that the city’s large corporates were most interested in cybersecurity, machine learning, AI, blockchain technology, FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech and LegalTech. In order to capitalise on technological advancement and retain talent within the Square Mile, corporates and landlords have been advised to encourage co-working, offer flexible and scalable lease terms, and effective marketing of value-for-money space in the City. The City of London Corporation itself should aspire to promote accelerators and incubators, manage terrorist and cyber attacks, and foster leisure, retail and culture.

Carolyn Dwyer, Director of the Built Environment at the City of London Corporation comments:

“The City is the original ‘co-working space’, a place where diverse groups have sought to congregate and collaborate for centuries. So it’s not surprising that tech and the City are quickly becoming synonymous. A new wave of technology, media and telecoms companies are attracted by the City’s world-leading connectivity, pioneering infrastructure and the unique life and authenticity of the Square Mile. By growing the City’s leisure, retail and cultural offer we can retain the working talent.”

The importance of supporting innovative development and creativity in London is clear – it will bring more demand to the city, generating greater revenues and contributing to the general enrichment of London society. It will help London-based startups and established companies navigate the fourth industrial revolution, also creating a knock-on effect for the rest of the country. Andy Pyle, UK Head of Real Estate at KPMG LLP, comments:

As the City landscape changes driven by disruptors of technology and emerging businesses, investors and corporates will need to alter their approach to their buildings. Understanding the needs of these occupiers may result in different occupier mixes, more multi-let buildings, more flexible and collaboration space, better access to public space and amenities. This report helps investors and corporates understand these changes. What is clear, is that the City is building from solid foundations, and can make itself even more attractive to new and fast-growing businesses. The additional demand from emerging businesses looking to locate in a vibrant global city is not dependent on whether the UK is part of the EU or not, and would help to offset any job transfers from the traditional financial services occupiers as a result of Brexit.”

The report was officially launched on Thursday 16 March at MIPIM in Cannes.