Infrastructure & Cities

Technology and innovation environment most important for business during a crisis, finds EIU report

December 03, 2020

Asia, Australasia

  • Four in ten (43%) executives surveyed across five Asian cities identified technology and innovation most important in making a city attractive as a business hub
  • Transportation and commercial real estate—traditionally important aspects of a business hub—are found to be less important during covid-19
  • Liveability continues to be an important factor in times of disruption, along with the ability to attract and retain talent

Technology and innovation (43%), the financial environment (34%) and liveability (18%) are three key factors in determining what makes a city a better business hub, according to a new report from The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Meanwhile, challenges such as unreliable ICT infrastructure, a paucity of people with the right skills, and poor physical infrastructure and connections with other cities must be addressed by policymakers as they respond to the many disruptions caused by covid-19.

The report, sponsored by BlackLine, is based on a survey of 250 executives—50 from each of Auckland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. Approximately 15% of those surveyed were board members or C-suite, and the remaining 85% were director level and above. Half the respondents represented the IT function, with the rest in accounting and finance.

Covid-19 has proven to be a great catalyst for technology adoption. With lockdown measures implemented across the Asia-Pacific region, people have been forced to increasingly use technology to conduct business and in their everyday lives. Unsurprisingly, 43% in the survey have cited technology and innovation as the most important aspect in making a city an attractive business hub. This goes hand-in-hand with the provision of technology infrastructure, which sets business hubs apart—the availability, reliability and security of technology infrastructure ensures seamless connectivity in times of disruption.

The study also finds that while ease of doing business and the liveability factors have fallen in importance relative to the technology and financial environment, they still matter in determining the attractiveness of a business hub.

In fact, given the changes in lifestyles being fashioned by the pandemic, the concept of liveability is evolving into a new term: workability. Charles Ross, the editor of the report, said: “Workability relates to new realities that employees face, particularly in terms of working from home, sometimes for prolonged periods of time. This means they are likely to consider factors other than liveability alone, such as the work-from-home environment and access to quality technology infrastructure. In future, this may separate the best business hubs from merely the good.”


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About The Economist Intelligence Unit


The EIU is the thought leadership, research and analysis division of The Economist Group and the world leader in global business intelligence for executives. We uncover novel and forward-looking perspectives with access to over 650 expert analysts and editors across 200 countries worldwide. More information can be found on Follow us on , and .


About BlackLine

Companies come to  (Nasdaq: BL) because their traditional manual accounting processes are not sustainable.   and market-leading customer service help companies move to modern accounting by unifying their data and processes, automating repetitive work, and driving accountability through visibility.  BlackLine provides solutions to manage and automate financial close, accounts receivable and intercompany accounting processes, helping large enterprises and midsize companies across all industries do accounting work better, faster and with more control.

More than 3,200 customers trust BlackLine to help them close faster with complete and accurate results.  The company is the pioneer of the cloud financial close market and recognized as the leader by customers at leading end-user review sites including Gartner Peer Insights, G2 and TrustRadius.  Based in Los Angeles, BlackLine also has regional headquarters in London, Singapore and Sydney.  For more information, please visit .

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