Title: SILICON VALLEY'S SAN JOSE IS THE WORLD¹S MOST KNOWLEDGE COMPETITIVE ECONOMY

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NEWS RELEASE
EMBARGO: IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEWS RELEASE
Sheffield, UK, 13th December 2005

SILICON VALLEY'S SAN JOSE IS THE WORLD¹S MOST KNOWLEDGE COMPETITIVE ECONOMY
Nordic Regions Continue to Thrive,
While Shanghai is Most Improved Performer

The 2005 edition of World Knowledge Competitiveness Index (WKCI) is
published today by Robert Huggins Associates. The WKCI is the only composite
and relative measure of the knowledge economies of the world¹s leading
regions.

San Jose, the heart of California¹s Silicon Valley heads the WKCI 2005,
followed by the US regions of Boston, San Francisco and Hartford. Seattle
takes fifth place with Grand-Rapids in sixth position. The highest ranked
non-US region is Stockholm in Sweden, which climbs seven places to eighth
position. Tokyo (23rd) is the highest ranked region outside of North America
and Europe.

According to one of the report¹s authors, Dr Robert Huggins of the
Management School at the University of Sheffield, ŒSan Jose, and Silicon
Valley as a whole, has had its problems in recent years. The lingering
effect of the dot com crash and the offshoring of IT activities to places
such as India have led to soaring unemployment rates. However, all the data
indicate that the region continues to lead the way as the world¹s knowledge
powerhouse¹.

The WKCI is an integrated and overall benchmark of the knowledge capacity,
capability and sustainability of 125 regions across the globe, and the
extent to which this knowledge is translated into economic value, and
transferred into the wealth of the citizens of these regions, utilising 19
knowledge economy benchmarks, including employment levels in the knowledge
economy, patent registrations, R&D investment by the private and public
sector, education expenditure, information and communication technology
infrastructure, and access to private equity. The WKCI is the only existing
instrument that benchmarks such regional performance at a global level, with
index comprising of 55 North American regions, 45 from Europe and 25 from
Asia-Pacific.

Alongside Stockholm, the Nordic regions have almost all improved their
rankings for the second year in a row. Both West Sweden (37th) and South
Sweden (46th) move up, and are now competitive with the majority of US
regions, while Denmark (up eleven places) and Norway (up two places) also
perform strongly. Uusimaa (Helsinki) consolidated its phenomenal growth in
recent years and is 21st ranked. These rankings are based on very high
levels of knowledge-based employment and high levels of research and
innovation.

Elsewhere in Europe the picture is more mixed, with the UK regions of London
(56th), South East England (55th)and Eastern England (62nd) dropping down
the rankings. With the exception of the UK, most Western European regions
have seen an improvement in their position. Ireland improved 17 places to
74th, indicating that the country¹s economic growth has been correlated with
a similar expansion of its knowledge base.

The majority of US regions have seen their performance either remain static
or fall. Rochester, ranked as high as fourth in 2003, slips again this year,
and now occupies ninth position. Austin has slipped further still: it began
in second place back in 2003, but falls another ten places this year to
19th. All six ranked Canadian regions have seen their position fall since
2004.

The region that has shown the best growth in creating a thriving
knowledge-intensive economy is Shanghai, which more than doubled its
performance since 2004, and is now ranked second only to Tokyo in terms of
patent registrations per capita. Also, Mumbai and Bangalore in India have
seen improvements in the performance, although they remain towards the
bottom of the index.

Amongst the list of indicators, the WKCI also benchmarks the availability of
private equity, including venture capital and start-up investments. US
regions provide the highest levels of private equity to their firms and
occupy the top six spots in the 2005 rankings. San Jose and San Francisco
share the top spot (US$1,325 per capita), with both regions benefiting from
the huge amount of venture capital available in and around Silicon Valley.
The New England regions of Boston and Hartford (US$588 per capita) follow in
third place, both of which score over six and a half times the index
average.

Outside of North America, only a handful of European regions are competitive
in terms of private equity provision: Stockholm (7th, US$300 per capita),
London (8th, US$247) and Paris region of Ile de France (9th, US$246) make
the top ten. Japanese regions perform poorly in this area, partly reflecting
the business structure in Japan, but also suggesting a potential lack of
capital investment for smaller and more dynamic firms.

According to the report, Asia-Pacific is particularly strong in IT and
Computer Manufacturing activities, while North America¹s strength comes from
its spending on R&D and education, and high patenting levels. More access to
private equity is also a North American advantage. Europe¹s model appears to
be an under-performing version of that operating within the North American
regions, although it does have strength in high technology sectors such as
instrumentation and electrical machinery.

Co-author of the report, Dr Hiro Izushi of Aston Business School, states ŒIt
is clear that at a regional level there are significant variations in the
economic development models at work across the globe. The US regional
development framework is far more reliant upon its investments in knowledge
sustainability, in the form of educational expenditure and ICT
infrastructure. Asian-Pacific regions tend to place a greater emphasis on
mobilising human capital already within the workforce and investment in
business-based innovation. While Europe¹s leading regions often possess
strength relating to the high-technology service sectors and niche high
value added manufacturing¹.

Notes to Editors

Copies of the full report are available from Robert Huggins Associates. For
further information please call Tel: +44 (0) 1443 202 300 or email
[EMAIL PROTECTED]

Robert Huggins Associates is a leading publishing and research house in the
field of international and regional competitiveness
(www.hugginsassociates.com).

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