Tuesday 24 May 2016 12:01 am

How London has leapfrogged rivals to become a global hotspot for tech

London has overtaken New York and Shanghai in a global ranking of top tech cities, thanks to its "incredible entrepreneurial attitude".

The capital is now the second most likely city in the world to create the next big tech giant, according to EY’s annual Attractiveness Survey, behind only San Francisco.

The result moves London up from fourth position last year, closing in on its American west-coast rival.

Read more: Index has a new $550m VC fund and its eye on London startups

“That was unimaginable five years ago,” Caroline Artis, EY’s London market segment leader, told City A.M.

“Financial services remains important, clearly it does, but other services – like business services and tech – are now adding to the things that make London seem attractive to the rest of the world.”

She added: “It’s incredible testimony to the things that have been going on here. You’ve got this incredible entrepreneurial attitude that seems to have grown over the last few years, definitely encouraged by things like Tech City.”

The findings have been seized upon by referendum campaign group Britain Stronger in Europe.

Will Straw, executive director, said: “This report shows that London is Europe’s top spot for tech investment. Staying in the EU will mean our tech companies across the country benefit from the completion of the Digital Single market which will bring new jobs and investment to the UK. But leaving Europe is a leap in the dark that could put this investment at risk, risking jobs and economic growth.”

Read more: Why London’s tech sector is united against Brexit

However, campaigners who want to leave the EU hit back. "It is clear if we vote leave the strengths of London, which have made it the financial capital of the world, and which we have in abundance, will help us to grow and prosper further," a spokesman for Vote Leave said.

"Pro-EU supporters have run a campaign of doing down the British economy. But as as this makes clear Britain is a world leader with a bright future. If we vote leave and take back control then we can ensure that the environment is best suited to entrepreneurs and liberated from the red tape that holds back startups and those unable to lobby in the corridors of Brussels."

EY, which interviewed nearly 1,500 decision-makers across 440 international companies, found that London continues to be “incredibly attractive” to foreign investors across a range of industries.

The survey revealed 2015 was a record year for foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK and the capital. During 2015, London secured 406 FDI projects – up seven per cent on 2014 – which created an estimated 7,026 jobs.

London outperformed all other European cities surveyed. Some 57 per cent of investors named London as being in their top three European cities for FDI, ahead of second-placed Paris with 43 per cent.