The Business Times

Singapore still first in tech innovation hub global ranking: KPMG survey

Published Mon, Jul 19, 2021 · 12:31 PM

FOR the second year running, Singapore has clinched the top spot in KPMG's global ranking of leading technology innovation hubs outside of Silicon Valley/San Francisco.

Pulling ahead of other cities like New York, Tel Aviv and Beijing, the city-state's image as a top innovation hub is "part of the country's vision", according to Ling Su Min, partner, head of clients, markets and innovation at KPMG.

"It reinforces other strengths that the nation has consciously built up, such as a reputable global financial hub and a critical gateway for businesses to access the rest of Asia," said Ms Ling.

Although 61 per cent of survey respondents said the pandemic has changed their opinion of which cities would become leading tech innovation hubs over the next four years, the top contenders in the rankings released on Friday were largely similar to last year's line up.

The report noted that all these cities had strong technology and innovation ecosystems pre-pandemic, and will likely remain as such post-pandemic.

Covid-19 has also done little to dampen the allure of urban city living.

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Some 44 per cent of respondents cited urban locale as a top factor in making a tech innovation centre, as the energetic and vibrant lifestyle can attract young professionals and contribute to a pool of skilled talent.

Proximity to skill, knowledge and creativity also proved vital, as 26 per cent of respondents said an innovation hub should have at least one research-intensive university.

The report noted that openness towards having a virtual workforce and the massive digital acceleration seen globally might carve out a viable competitor to California's Silicon Valley after the world recovers from the pandemic.

Of the top 10 cities ranked, six are in the Asia-Pacific, signalling the burgeoning potential of the region.

Darren Yong, Asia-Pacific head of technology, media and telecommunications at KPMG, said: "We are seeing Asia take a leading position in innovation across the world. Asian cities will continue to be a hotbed of creativity and we expect even more activity as organisations invested in Asia look to further disrupt business models to capture the world's largest consumer population."

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