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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What you need to know about the EU’s plan for a uniform phone charger

The European Union has approved a new regulation that would force tech companies to use a standard charger for mobile phones and electronic devices. What does this mean?

What you need to know about the EU's plan for a uniform phone charger

The European Parliament has approved an agreement establishing a single charging solution for frequently used small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. The law will make it mandatory for specific devices that are rechargeable via a wired cable to be equipped with a USB Type-C port.

The rules have been debated for a while, and the announcement of the agreement has caused controversy, especially among tech companies and enthusiasts. US giant Apple has repeatedly lobbied against the standardisation, saying it halts innovation.

The EU says that the new rules will lead to more re-use of chargers and “help consumers save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases”. Disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually, the bloc says.

So, what exactly are the changes?

Which products will be affected?

According to the European Parliament, the new rules are valid for small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. This includes mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable.

Laptops will also have to be adapted, the EU says.

Those devices will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port regardless of their manufacturer.

When will the changes come?

For most devices, the changes are set to come by autumn of 2024. However, the date is not yet set because the regulations need to go to other proceedings within the EU bureaucracy.

After the summer recess, The EU’s Parliament and Council need to formally approve the agreement before publication in the EU Official Journal. It enters into force 20 days after publication, and its provisions start to apply after 24 months, hence the “autumn 2024” expectation.

Rules for laptops are a bit different, and manufacturers will have to adapt their products to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force of the laws.

Where are the rules valid?

The rules will be valid for products sold or produced in the European Union and its 27 member countries. But, of course, they will likely affect manufacturers and promote more considerable scale changes.

The USB-C cable, with the rounded edges, will be the standard for charging in the EU (Photo by مشعال بن الذاهد on Unsplash)

Why the uniform USB Type-C?

The bloc said the uniform charger is part of a broader EU effort to make products more sustainable, reduce electronic waste, and make consumers’ lives easier.

“European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device”, EU Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said.

USB Type-C is a standard of charging that has been around for a while but still is one of the best options currently in the market. Also known as USB-C, it allows for reliable, inexpensive, and fast charging. A USB-C port can also be input or output, meaning that it can both send and receive charges and data.

Unlike other ports, it can be the same on both ends of the wire (making it easier and more universal in its use). It can also power devices and sends data much faster.

USB-C can also be used for video and audio connections, so some external monitors can charge your laptop and show your screen simultaneously with the same cable.

What criticism is there?

The project is not without criticism, most vocally from US tech giant Apple, a company that famously has its own charging standard, the “lightning” connection.

Apple claims that forcing a standardisation will prevent innovation, holding all companies to the same technology instead of allowing for experimentation. Still, Apple itself has been swapping to USB-C. Its iPads have already dropped the lightning standard. Its newer laptops can now be charged with the MagSafe proprietary connector and USB-C.

Apple iPhones are still charged with the company’s lightning ports – or wirelessly (Photo by Brandon Romanchuk on Unsplash)

The company’s popular earbuds and peripherals (including keyboards and mice) all charge with lightning. And, of course, the iPhone, Apple’s smartphone, also uses the company’s connection for charging.

While there have been rumours that Apple is working on new iPhones with USB-C connection (though definitely not for the next launch this year’s), the company could go away with wired charging altogether. Instead, like many tech manufacturers, Apple is improving its wireless charging solutions, even creating products dedicated to its MagSafe charging.

It won’t be completely free from the EU regulation if it does that, though. This is because the rules approved by the EU also allow the European Commission to develop so-called “delegated acts” concerning wireless charging. The delegated acts are faster processes that can be applied directly without being put to the vote.