London is rapidly emerging as the go-to destination for AI companies – here’s why

London skyline from the Thames Barrier, London, United Kingdom. Photo Taken in the Spring 2024 from New Charlton, East London, at sunset.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

London is emerging as the premier destination for companies specializing in AI, according to a new study, in part thanks to its burgeoning tech scene and underlying infrastructure.

Analysis from London & Partners found that more than three-quarters of international business leaders in the AI field view London as a more supportive location than other leading AI hubs.

Nearly half (45%) of respondents specifically highlighted supportive government incentives as a key factor in London’s appeal, while other policies tailored for AI development were noted as a key advantage.

A similar number said access to international markets and global business opportunities as another significant plus point for the capital.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said the research shows the city’s continued strength as a leading destination for businesses.

"London is a world-leading center for technology and talent, and fast becoming one of the most important centers for AI businesses globally," he said.

"The world’s leading players in the sector are investing in international headquarters across our city. These AI hubs will bring industry experts together to innovate and collaborate and provide major opportunities for Londoners to access the jobs and opportunities of the future."

What London does right on AI

Nine-in-ten business leaders stressed the importance of data privacy and security, along with infrastructure and scalability with regard to AI development. 

The study noted that 86% of respondents believe London offers a myriad of opportunities in terms of privacy and security due to the broad array of businesses operating in these fields. 

Similarly, 83% said the capital’s infrastructure and scalability also appeals to their business.

Nearly half said the capital has a well-established infrastructure and technological ecosystem conducive to AI innovation and growth, while 43% said the city has access to a diverse and highly skilled talent pool in the AI field.

Meanwhile, 85% of decision-makers surveyed at international AI companies said that they are very confident in the capital’s ability to attract and retain talent over the next twelve months.

Mike Mattacola, chief business officer at CoreWeave, which recently announced plans to launch a new European headquarters in London, said choosing the city was an “easy strategic decision”.

"London was an easy strategic decision for CoreWeave due to the city’s focus on fostering AI development, immense talent pool, access to a world-leading financial sector and close proximity to AI labs, developers, and enterprise customers across the UK,” he said.

“Our launch in London will allow CoreWeave to capitalize on the significant demand for our AI infrastructure both in the UK and across Europe."

When asked how London can maintain its attractiveness for international AI companies over the next twelve months, almost a third highlighted the need for strong infrastructure and a robust technological ecosystem, while 29% pointed to continued investment in AI research and development.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, said the research is a major seal of approval for London’s technology sector.

Shaw noted that continued support for the city’s tech ecosystem will be critical to ensure it maintains a competitive advantage moving forward.

"For the London tech sector to flourish, it is vital to maximize support for its most innovative tech verticals," he said.

"This research, which showcases strong results in both private and public policy with regards to AI, will act as a signal to global tech leaders that London is a hotbed for the development of advanced tech."

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.