Silicon Valley remains the world’s leading economic hotspot

One of the largest international surveys of the competitiveness of regions and cities finds that Silicon Valley in California remains the world’s leading economic hotspot.

According to the Global Competitiveness of Regions study, which analyses more than 500 regions and cities, Brussels is the most competitive European region, ranked 2nd overall, with Tokyo taking the honours in Asia, and ranked 3rd overall. Also ranked in the top five are Washington DC (4th) and the Korean industrial powerhouse region of Ulsan.

The study, which was led by Professor Robert Huggins of Cardiff University, analyses a range of indicators to produce a ranking of regions based on their rate of economic development and future growth potential. London is the leading British region, but is only ranked 15th across European regions, lagging behind regions such as Stockholm, the Paris region of Île de France, the south Netherlands and Prague. Spanish, Greek and Central and Eastern European regions are amongst the least competitive.

Across regions in the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), the hugely resource rich region of Nenets Autonomous Okrug in Russia heads the ranking followed by Shanghai and Beijing in China. Within this bloc, regions in India are found to be by far the least competitive.

In the Middle East, the most competitive economy is Israel, followed by Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and the Riyadh region of Saudi Arabia.

According to Professor Huggins:

“Locational competition has shifted to the international stage, with regions and cities becoming key places for understanding changing patterns of geospatial economic development. Our study finds that across all continental blocs there are a relatively small number of standout high-performing regions that compete for investment, jobs and resources. Below these leading regions there is long tail of poorer performers, which indicates the scale of global uneven development.”

“It is clear that regions do not all follow the same strategies and routes to achieving economic competitiveness. Some, like Ulsan in South Korea, Silicon Valley, and to some extent emerging locations such as Brazilian Distrito Federal region have developed a range of strengths, which make them competitive regions not just within their respective nations, but also at a global level. Other regions have taken more specialist approaches to developing their locational capabilities with Tokyo, Prague and Bogotá in Colombia, for example, basing their competitiveness on a relatively narrow set of high value industries.”

Notes for editors:

1. Cardiff School of Planning and Geography is the largest and most active planning school in the UK and has an outstanding record of academic achievement. Its teaching has been rated as ‘excellent’ and the latest government assessment of research in British universities has reinforced its status as the premier academic School of its type in Britain.
The School plays a leading international role in its fields of expertise and its research has an agenda-setting influence in key debates on the development, management and sustainability of cities and regions.
The School’s research is structured around five large research groups and is leading developments in environment; housing; spatial analysis; spatial planning and city environments; and urban and regional governance.

2. Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain’s leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK’s most research intensive universities. Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research. The University’s breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning. Cardiff’s four flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to cancer stem cells, catalysis, neurosciences and mental health and sustainable places.

##Further details of The Global Competitiveness of Regions can be found here: and here

Further information:

Professor Robert Huggins, Chair in Economic Geography
Director, Centre for Economic Geography,

School Planning and Geography, Cardiff University
Tel: +44 (0)29 208 76006

Catrin Palfrey, Public Relations

Cardiff University


Tel: 029 2087 0752