Manchester emerges as technology hub as firms look beyond London

The city’s thriving tech sector now accounts for nearly half of all enquiries for city centre office space
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Manchester is fast becoming a technology hub, with more and more firms opting to relocate to the northwest city. The city’s thriving tech sector now accounts for nearly half of all enquiries for city centre office space. According to Colliers International around 40 per cent of new enquiries are coming from the tech industry.

There are already around 63,000 tech related jobs in Manchester and that number is set to increase fast. And with the growth of the industry, global co-working specialist WeWork has spotted an opportunity. The company has decided to open its second location in Manchester, the first outside of London, in a bid to capitalise on the emerging tech bubble.

Joe Gaunt, the UK managing director for WeWork, said: “Manchester is an obvious choice for our second city. The city has excellent infrastructure and a growing tech and start-up sector and is showing itself to be an increasingly appealing destination providing a fantastic work life balance.”

The success of Manchester is representative of a growing trend in the UK, which is seeing a number of cities outside of London emerging as tech leaders. Smaller cities across the UK are fueling technology innovation in niche areas such as manufacturing, virtual reality and IoT production. London is still the UK’s technology hub, according to the fifth UK Tech Innovation Index compiled by the Open Data Institute and the Digital Catapult organisation. However areas outside the capital are showing signs of growth.

The survey, which takes in data from 36 of the largest UK cities across seven disciplines – IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), VR, data, health, creative and manufacturing – found that while London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Brighton and Southampton are the top five cities for data innovation, Reading and Liverpool are leaders in the internet of things (IoT).

Meanwhile Coventry and Aberdeen topped the leaderboard for manufacturing. Cardiff was identified by the survey as showing ‘early signs of an emerging virtual reality innovation cluster’.

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