How did Manchester City successfully transform into the “e-commerce city”?


Why can Manchester City become the city of British e-commerce in just a few years?

From an analysis point of view, we believe that the main reasons can be summarized as follows:

1. Geographical and transportation advantages in the very centre of the UK

First of all, of course, Manchester City’s unique geographical and transportation advantages. After all, logistics services are a very important part of the e-commerce economy.

As the centre of the British “Northern Revitalization Plan”, Manchester City has a huge rail and road network, connecting Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Liverpool and other important British cities, and belongs to the centre of the northern England city group.

It can be seen from the figure below that if Scotland is also taken into account, Manchester City is located in the geographic centre of the United Kingdom.

In addition, Manchester Airport, the third-largest airport in the UK, can directly reach more than 210 destinations around the world, with a cargo throughput of approximately 250,000 metric tons in 2015.

If by sea, the ship canal can enter the Atlantic Ocean via the Port of Liverpool near Manchester City.

This multi-mode transportation method makes Manchester an ideal location for logistics and cargo distribution in the UK and even the world and has attracted the favour of many e-commerce companies.

2. Investment in technology and related industries

Transportation advantages alone are not enough. The rise of the e-commerce industry in Manchester has truly benefited from the government’s heavy investment in technology.

In 1984, Manchester City built the UK’s first science and technology park-Manchester Science Park, attracting large international companies to invest.

Up to now, the park has expanded the two parts of Technopark and One Central Park. 184 companies have settled in the park, involving business services, IT technology, industrial technology, technical consulting and other fields, realizing the coordinated development of government, academic institutions and enterprises.

With the strong support of the government, The Data City’s survey shows that in 2019, Manchester has grown into the second-largest technology city in the UK after London.

Not only that, Manchester City ranks second only to London in many subdivisions of the technology industry, surpassing Reading in third and Bristol in fourth.

In terms of core e-commerce technologies, Manchester City vigorously develops diversified ecosystems and complementary industries such as FinTech, network security and service design (user experience, artificial intelligence and PaaS).

Well-known international payment companies such as Worldpay, Klarna, Adyen and Clearpay have branches in Manchester City.

It is also worth noting that the MediaCityUK located in Salford jointly created by the Manchester City government and the British government has also provided strong support for the development of the e-commerce industry.

Data shows that Media City has gathered more than 250 creative media digital technology companies, and tens of thousands of talents from program development, data analysis, marketing, advertising, and public relations have continued to move here from London in recent years.

In summary, while maintaining traditional advantages such as marketing, Manchester City has not forgotten to vigorously develop the core IT technology of e-commerce, thus creating an ideal environment for the development of e-commerce companies.

3. There are many talents in colleges and universities, and the manpower and living costs are low

Compared to London, the cost of manpower and living in Manchester is obviously lower, with an average house price of only 187.983 million pounds, which is almost 1.6 million yuan to buy a house. (For specific projects, please refer to the total price of 1.09 million RMB, buying a house in Manchester, UK)

The following is the data released by Zoopla, Manchester City’s current average house price is 187,000 pounds, an annual growth rate of 0.6%, and the average rent is 749 pounds per month.

It is very suitable for young locals who can’t stand the high housing prices in London.

In this way, companies can also reduce wages and operating costs, thereby giving more benefits to consumers, which is particularly important for the e-commerce industry that often engages in price wars.

In addition, Manchester City’s university advantage is also the key to talent gathering.

In addition to attracting talent from London, Manchester City itself has more than 100,000 college students. Currently, Manchester City has a total of 5 universities.

It is worth mentioning that the research on e-commerce and related fields in Manchester’s universities is second only to London’s universities.

In November 2020, researchers from the University of Manchester announced a major research project in collaboration with local e-commerce giant THG to help prevent e-commerce websites from cybersecurity attacks.

This 5.8 million pounds project will start operations in January 2021 and will last for three years and three months. It aims to prevent hackers from remotely controlling the digital systems of e-commerce companies, thereby safely protecting users’ data.

In summary

Because of industrial transformation and the development of technology and creative industries, Manchester City has attracted a large number of emerging companies in recent years, and it is no longer the old industrial base we used to know.

With superior traffic conditions and more cost-effective human resources, Manchester City has attracted more and more e-commerce companies to settle in recent years, thus forming a strong industrial cluster effect.

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