Copenhagen is currently the best place in Northern Europe to set up an e-business, according to research from PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Brussels.

The study compared seven cities which are already centres of e-banking, procurement, service centres and logistics, using qualitative and quantitative criteria.

London and Copenhagen were neck and neck with 35 points after the qualitative round, which examined measures such as staff availability and skills. However, London’s ruinous labour and property costs denied it the prize. “No matter its high quality environment, London's competitive position is weakened due to its extremely high cost structures,” explained the report.

The study lists Copenhagen’s main selling points as: labour availability and flexibility, good foreign language skills, good accessibility both nationally and internationally, low rents on office space and favourable rules on expatriates.

The findings bolster Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen’s recently voiced hope that “a Denmark that is quite simply the world's best information technology country … is not an impossible dream”.

Danish foreign minister Mogens Lykketof had his own explanation: “We have the strong skills including foreign languages and excellent labour flexibility. But I think the absolute most important factor is the educational quality of the workforce.”

However, Lykketof would not be drawn as to how the study might benefit Copenhagen: “This is the beginning of something. It is too early to say what will come out of it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the wooden spoon for the worst city of the seven reviewed went to Dublin. Despite favourable taxes, investment incentives and an established e-business industry, the Irish capital was let down by poor infrastructure, difficulties in obtaining work permits and less-than-adequate foreign language skills.

News source: Financial Times