The 2021 Technology Innovation Hubs report draws on perspectives from KPMG’s latest global Technology Industry Survey, now in its ninth year. More than 800 technology industry leaders (65 per cent C-suite) were asked to rank the cities and countries, outside of Silicon Valley/San Francisco, that they believe will flourish as technology innovation hubs in the next four years. Twelve countries were included in the survey and the respondents encompassed all major technology subsectors including services, internet/eCommerce, hardware/electronics, software/Software-as-a-Service and semiconductors.

The report reveals that the world’s physical technology hubs are here to stay, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly accelerated new ways of working. The pandemic did little to dim the allure of tech hubs such as Singapore, New York City and Tel Aviv, that already had strong ecosystems in place before the virus outbreak. Most of the top 10 locations stayed the same in the respondents’ minds compared to last year’s survey.

Among the local factors that influence a city’s status as a tech hub are infrastructure, demographics, and university communities. But also, at play are macro factors, such as regulatory environment, available funding, and tax incentives. Global leaders have indicated that the top three factors enabling cities as leading technology innovation hubs are: urban locale that attracts young professionals, a pipeline of skilled talent, and modern infrastructure (including high-speed bandwidth).

Of those surveyed, 39 per cent believe hub cities, including Singapore, London, and Tel Aviv, will continue to play a vital role, enabling talent to coalesce and collaborate in communities with a solid digital infrastructure. The findings echo earlier research from the 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook pulse survey, which revealed 78 per cent of tech leaders have no plans to downsize their physical footprint and only a quarter (26 per cent) expect to hire predominantly remote talent in the future.

We are seeing Asia take a leading position in innovation across the world and as highlighted in this report, more than 50 percent of these top innovation hubs are based in this region. 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.

Darren Yong
Asia Pacific Head of Technology,
Media and Telecommunications at KPMG

Singapore's accomplishments as a leading tech innovation hub have been part of the country's strategic vision. 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. The recognition that we are only stronger if competitive on multiple fronts in today’s digitally connected global economy, has fostered greater collaboration and convergence between sectors, industries and previously dispersed ecosystems. These attributes continue to draw top talent to live, work and play in this city in a garden (Singapore), as we work together for a better and greener future.

Ling Su Min
Head of Clients, Markets & Innovation,
KPMG in Singapore