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Aviva identifies Europe’s top three international business hubs and

Aviva’s ‘Future City’ model created by Aviva Investors, which uses 30 metrics to assess the credentials of each city; including the ability to attract global talent, cultivate clusters of high value-add economic activities, scale and underlying real estate fundamentals.

International business hubs

Amongst the cities that score well as office locations are three cities which compete globally as headquarter locations and are supported by strong labour market credentials. The following is Aviva’s identified cities and its accompanying analysis:


Frankfurt is the financial capital of continental Europe. It is home to over 200 banks with banking and finance services accounting for 28 per cent of its GDP. Ninety fintech firms are based in the region and the Government of Hesse has a target to attract 500 firms over the next few years, developing the region as a leader in fintech. Adding to the city’s appeal to international companies is its connectivity. It is well connected with Europe and the rest of the world. In terms of passenger numbers, its airport is one of the three largest in Europe.


Munich is an important headquarter location for domestic and international companies. Highly diversified with a high-performing economic base, the city has vibrant clusters in financial, automotive, ICT and media, cultural and creative industries, and engineering sectors. Twenty per cent of the workforce is in export-led manufacturing, while services and high-tech capital-intensive clusters have thrived, accounting for 24 per cent of the workforce. Demographic projections for the city are positive and the labour force is set to grow and outpace its German counterparts.


Dublin is a significant international business hub with very strong economic and demographic prospects. It has a young and affluent population with 40 per cent aged under 29 years. Attractive in terms of a highly qualified, English-speaking workforce and a favourable regulatory climate, Dublin is a hotspot for international companies and has an established cluster in the technology sector. Google, Facebook and Twitter all have their European headquarters in the city.

Regional powerhouses

Among Aviva’s strategic locations are three cities set to drive growth in some of Europe’s most successful regions. They are all well-rounded cities that host knowledge intensive business activity and boast strong demographic credentials. They are:


Stuttgart is home to several major companies including Daimler AG, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Bosche and Mahle. Many SMEs that act as suppliers to the automotive, electronics and machinery industries are also located in and around the city. The city has a highly qualified and highly international workforce and has one of the leading research and development landscapes. The Baden-Wurttemberg region boasts unusually high levels of research and development expenditure and patent creations.


Lyon sits at the heart of Europe’s fifth most prosperous region, Auvergne-Rhone-Alps. The region ranks highly in terms of levels of foreign direct investment too, with a broad range of businesses targeting the area, including research organisations, life sciences companies and digital firms. Over 65 per cent of Lyon’s population is under 45 years of age, compared to 57 per cent for France. This is partly explained by a large student population – 144,500 students, 10 per cent of whom are international. Lyon has a wealth of higher-education establishments and renowned schools with five universities in the world’s top 1000.


Hamburg is the economic centre of northern Germany and transportation hub for both Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Hamburg’s harbour is the principal northern European distribution centre. It is the third largest in Europe and the fifteenth largest in the world. The city has close relations with the Nordic and Baltic regions and has emerged as a key European bridgehead for Asian companies. 550 Chinese firms have branches in the city and, for most, Hamburg acts as their German or European headquarters. The city has an innovative and highly diversified economic structure, including a thriving.

Tomorrow, we take a closer look at Europe’s four identified tech cities.