The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World

When asked the question “which are the top 10 hi-tech cities in the world?”, even the most “tech savvy” candidates tend to have a hard time comparing and/or imagining what is happening on the other side of the globe. In this way, the question is worth asking, and frankly, is far from easy to answer. When searching on the web, most of rankings found in Shakespeare’s language, such as the Popsci or the Wired rankings, tend to focus exclusively on American cities. Personally, the ranking I found the most interesting was one published on the website of The Age, a mainstream newspaper from Melbourne, Australia. Based on six criteria (1. Broadband speed, cost and availability; 2. Wireless internet access; 3. Technology adoption; 4. Government support for technology; 5. Education and technology culture; 6. Future potential), here is their conclusion:

1. Seoul, South Korea;
2. Singapore, Singapore;
3. Tokyo, Japan;
4. Hong Kong, China;
5. Stockholm, Sweden;
6. San Francisco (and Silicon Valley), USA;
7. Tallinn, Estonia;
8. New York, USA;
9. Beijing, China;
10. New Songdo City, South Korea.

The presence of four cities (Seoul, Singapore, Hong Kong, New Songdo City) from the Four Asian Tigers is not surprising. However, the presence of cities like Stockholm (Sweden), Tallinn (Estonia) and New Songdo City (South Korea) is certainly something that yields the most expressions such as: “oh”, “ah”, “what’s that”, “are you kiddin’?”, “really?”.

The presence of Stockholm makes sense when looking at rankings that classify the city as the one with the fastest broadband speed in the OECD countries. Moreover, Stockholm is acting as a pioneer in the use of green technologies such as RFID technologies, and paired with the high number of engineers due in part to the presence of Ericsson, those could be factors that contribute in making this city’s ranking first among cities outside Asia.

The city of Tallinn, mostly unknown to North Americans, except for those who have learned the world’s capitals after the fall of the USSR, is known as the Silicon Valley of the Baltic Sea. The city is also known as being the first to organize an election vote on the internet using smartcards, as well as for its free wireless internet facilities across the city. Tallinn is also recognized for the well-known start-up Skype.

Finally, New Songdo City, situated 60 kilometers East from Seoul, is certainly the most fascinating city in this ranking. The city was built from scratch by Gale International, a real estate development and investment firm, and is considered by technology experts as the ultimate digital city of the future. Even if the city is still upon completion, it is already considered in the top 10 of the most hi-tech cities in the world.

New Songdo City - A New Worldwide High-Tech City Built from Scratch
New Songdo City - A New Worldwide High-Tech City Built from Scratch

I can briefly conclude this post by noting that it is nothing new for North America to be limping way behind Asian countries in terms of hi-tech development, and this ranking is only a glimpse of what’s coming next in technology development….

Jean-Francois Belisle

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Comments 9

  • […] The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World 2. Canada in the Worldwide Top 3 for Internet Penetration Rate 3. Demystifying Viral Marketing: 7 […]

  • Tel Aviv should be on there for sure.

    Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) — But Israel is also an unusual high- tech success story. A survey last May of non-American companies on the Nasdaq counted three Korean companies, five Irish businesses, five from the U.K. and six from Japan. Israel had 64.

  • I agree with you Bob that Tel Aviv should not be far from the Top 10. I am pretty sure Tel Aviv is appearing in the Top 20 according to the criteria used which are different from the ones you mentioned

  • […] In conclusion, Scandinavia and Oceania are still leaders in term of Internet Penetration rate while nations such as the Four Asian Tigers (South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong & Taiwan) should improve their position in the next few years even though the new ranking did not revealed strong improvements. However, even though this macroeconomic indicator is quite reliable to reflect a nation’s innovation, it is important to note that it tends to favor nations where the population is highly concentrated in urban areas. In this way, this ranking is a good complement to my post entitled The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World. […]

  • Tallinn and all the technology sphere in Estonia seems to be pretty impressive, but we had seen with the massive (russian??) attacks they underwent that it could be really dangerous to heavily remain on technology. The country was paralyzed and almost disappeared of the cybernetic world map.

  • @Cyril, thanks for your comment. Sincerely, technology can surely throw a country in the dark for a short period when it stops to work, but in the long-run it is an interesting proxy/indicator for country development. In another way, even though Tallinn has been destroyed many times in the past by russian invaders, the situation is stable since World War II and the USSR dimantling. I would also add that the proximity of Helsinki is also beneficial for Tallinn’s development.

  • […] for a techno-trendy country or city to visit, this ranking is a good complement to my post entitled The 10 Most Hi-Tech Cities in the World, but also to the lucky 13 cities in the world described in my post entitled The art of Being […]

  • Interesting to note that when you search for the default phrase “tech cities” in Google, all the top links only mention their lousy American cities in the top 10/25/60 lists. just imagine Washington DC or Houston trying to compete with the true top tech cities of the world…

  • Great point James. That’s mainly why I added in my “header” title that this post doesn’t only consider cities in the US.

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