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Northern Ireland’s capital city has changed dramatically in the course of the last decade, following unprecedented levels of investment in a range of regeneration and development projects in the city centre and its neighbourhoods.
With its complex history, Belfast’s fortunes were built on the maritime, linen and shipbuilding industries, but having cast off its old troubled image the city has flourished economically with the focus now on telecoms and technology.
Belfast is not only home to strong software, financial services and telecoms sectors, it’s also embracing new sectors of excellence in areas such as creative industries and advanced manufacturing.
World class businesses located in Belfast include Microsoft, Citigroup, Bombardier Aerospace and Fujitsu.
The financial services sector in Belfast employs over 20,000 people and includes key investors such as Citi, the Allstate Corporation, Liberty Mutual, NYSE Euronext and HBoS as well as many indigenious companies.
Northern Ireland is Europe’s leading location for financial services software development, attracting more than a third of total projects in the last five years.
Belfast’s life and health technology sector has shown strong growth in recent years, grounded in leading-edge research in areas such as oncology, genomic and proteomics. In recent years through indigenous growth and global acquisition, sales throughout the life science sector have almost doubled, while employment levels have increased by around 40%.
Information and communication technologies (ICT)
Belfast’s ICT sector has grown rapidly over the past number of years. The principal areas of focus have been in the fields of software development, mobile communications, internet and e-commerce. Ready access to a highly-skilled and loyal workforce and the existence of an already thriving local industry has led major companies such as Nortel Networks and BT to choose Belfast as a location for their software operations.
The creative industries sector is one of Belfast’s fastest growing sectors with over 1,000 creative businesses based in the city, employing over 17,000 people. Important subsectors for Belfast include film and television, digital media, and fashion and design.
The city has a thriving music scene and has been used as the location for a number of major films in recent years including City of Ember, Closing the Ring and Your Highness.
Belfast has a strong traditional manufacturing base and the sector continues to play an important role in the city’s economy.
Did you know ... Titanic, the world’s most famous ship was built in Belfast. One of the most advanced pieces of technology of its time, the city takes pride in the innovation, skill and engineering genius that went into making it. Tragically, the ship sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg in the north Atlantic in 1912.