Global business: 6 reasons Vienna is a hub

Last week, we wrote a post about the secret sauce to winning the German sales market. In short: use Austria as a test market. It’s smaller, it’s technologically-advanced and cosmopolitan, and it’s German-speaking. Most approaches that work in Austria work in Germany, although Germany can make you a lot more money. (Austria as a whole has less people than New York City.)

In that article, one of the arguments we mentioned is that Austria’s business environment is very concentrated in Vienna. About 80 percent of all major Austrian businesses are located there, which is good from an effective time management standpoint.

There are other arguments for Vienna as a sales play, too:

Global business advantage: Vienna’s quality of life

For four consecutive years, it’s come in first for global quality of life via global consulting firm Mercer. 450 cities are ranked in the Mercer studies, so Vienna truly stands out.

The global business necessity of a highly-educated workforce

There are about 150,000 public university students in Vienna and another 3,000 private university students; in the 2010 World Competitive Yearbook, Austria ranked fifth globally in terms of its workforce being able to meet the demands of the global economy. It actually outranked both U.S. and UK — and most of the workforce is located right within Vienna.

Global business value-add: Vienna as a Central European meeting point

Vienna hosts more international congresses than any city in Europe almost every year. This tends to lead to a more liberal, open-minded business climate than in some other cities. Austria as a whole is typically ranked as a highly civil democracy with limited potential for unrest. You’ll see more protests in Vienna than other Austrian cities simply because it’s the biggest city, but the protests are always peaceful. The Financial Times has even described Vienna as a true global business hub, calling it “the city where east meets west.”

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Doing global business or just EU business? You need transportation infrastructure

The public transportation in Vienna is world-class, serving over 500,000 daily. (That’s about half the entire population of the city limits.) Overall, it’s considered one of the best bus/rail networks in the world.

Global business and the value of uniquely affordable cities

Among major cities in the world, Vienna is one of the most affordable — in part because of the government’s long-standing investment in high-end social housing. A young female resident of Vienna told this to The Guardian last year:

“I live in a 100sq metre turn-of-the-century apartment in a good area about 20 minutes’ walk into the city centre. But my rent is just €800 (£625) a month.” An equivalent apartment in London would cost upwards of £2,000, and even more in New York, ranked 44th in the table.

(44th in the table refers to the same Mercer study above.)

The fun side of global business: Cafe society and wine

Vienna is essentially the city where the cafe society was invented — some believe the whole concept of drip coffee comes from Vienna — and is the only major global city with a vineyard within the limits. You’re not going to spend your entire time here selling and working. You need to have a bit of fun. Where better in the EU? London? Well then, where better in the EU for cost?

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