The 10 Fastest-Growing Startup Ecosystems

A startup guide on the 10 fastest growing startup ecosystems in the world, highlighting the most significant regional and emerging startup ecosystem developments right now. (Based on the top 50 cities in the StartupBlink Global Ecosystem Report)
Emerging Startup Ecosystems

In this article, which complements our annual Global Ranking Report, we want to emphasize the strength of innovation and investment in a diverse global market, during a period of constant shifting brought on in part by the coronavirus pandemic and new technological developments. In addition to the dominant and well-established players in the global market, we have seen tremendous growth in smaller regional hubs and previously lower-ranked cities that have started to lay the foundations for solid startup ecosystems. 

Our research and reports have proven to be invaluable to entrepreneurs and businessmen around the world, as well as national and local governments looking to implement changes and facilitate new developments in their region.

THE FASTEST GROWING STARTUP ECOSYSTEMS

Startup innovation and entrepreneurship aren’t just confined to Silicon Valley and a few select areas in the world. Some of the fastest-growing ecosystems right now can be found in Asia and outside of North America and Europe.


  1. Taipei, Taiwan
  2. Hangzhou, China
  3. Shanghai, China
  4. Minneapolis, USA
  5. Washington DC, USA
  6. Hamburg, Germany
  7. Detroit, USA
  8. Beijing, China
  9. Seoul, South Korea
  10. Shenzen, China/Mumbai, India

1. Taipei, Taiwan +208

In Asia, Taipei has seen the most impressive jump in rankings this year, moving up 208 spots at 42nd place, compared to 48th in 2019. This is the first year that Taiwan has entered the map due to a more extensive information collection process. Unlike other ecosystems in Asia, Taipei has integrated well into the global ecosystem, creating an open environment that warmly accepts entrepreneurs from around the world. The entrance of Taipei shows great potential for the Asian startup industry and there is a good opportunity to keep the momentum with more cities in Taiwan entering the rankings.

2. Hangzhou, China + 196

Hangzhou has shown the most impressive increase this year in China and is ranked 5th nationally. It is joined by five more Chinese cities in the global Top 100 rankings and shows a growing trend and potential for a massive regional hub that can’t be ignored. The nature of Chinese startup ecosystems has made it difficult in the past to access the less open and domestically oriented business model. The recent changes to the algorithm, have allowed us to recalibrate China’s global position and accentuate Hangzhou’s position amongst the giants, with very good movement, new unicorns, scaleups, and high-quality startups. 

3. Shanghai, China + 21

Shanghai has moved to second place in China nationally, one up from its previous spot in 3rd place last year. In addition, it has registered an impressive 20 step jump to be now marked in the Top 10 globally. An impressive effort that has cemented its location in the global market, considering it was already ranked very high. With current growth metrics, Shanghai is set to be one of the top-performing cities in 2021

4. Minneapolis, USA + 19

Minneapolis is one of two US cities that has entered the Top 50 global list and shows a lot of good innovation. One of the biggest substantial examples of ecosystem development and innovation outside of Silicon Valley in the US. Minneapolis was previously ranked in spot 69 in the global market and is currently sitting at the 17th spot nationally, making this the first year it has appeared in the top 20 cities in the US. 

5. Washington DC, USA + 15

Another US city that is one of the fastest growing startup ecosystems in 2020, Washington DC has jumped 15 spots to land in 30th place and an equally impressive 5 spots nationally, sitting in 12th place behind San Diego and Miami. Notably, Washington DC has also adapted very well to the changes in innovation process and product development due to COVID-19, which is highlighted in our recently released vertical map focusing specifically on innovation in response to the pandemic. You can access this report and additional information in our Coronavirus Innovation Map. A great achievement for Washington DC this year, showing great potential of becoming a vibrant economic growth hub in the US.

6. Hamburg, Germany + 14

The first European city on this list, Hamburg is one of the German cities enjoying great momentum and has remained stable in its position from last year nationally, sitting in 3rd place, behind Munich and Germany. Globally, Hamburg has gained a 14 point increase and is now ranked in the Top 50 around the world. Hamburg is set to becoming both a major German hub as well as a regional hub with great potential for the German ecosystem as a whole. 

7. Detroit, USA + 12

Detroit was another one of the fastest growing ecosystems in the US, together with Minneapolis and Washington DC. It registered an increase of 12 spots globally as well as 5 spots nationally, and is currently placed in the 48th and 16th spot respectively. Detroit is a high growth area that is transitioning from a previously very strong manufacturing industry sector with a focus on automotive. The advancements of Detroit in other areas and especially high-tech, show a transition towards powerful innovation ecosystems that is very promising. 

8. Beijing, China +11

The Highest ranked city in Asia and China as well as ranked 6th in the world, Beijing has managed one of the most impressive jumps considering how high it was already sitting. This notable increase was buoyed by new scaleups and unicorns and cements China’s position as a global leader in startup ecosystems. While the geopolitical situation is constantly shifting and evolving, we hope a more open and globally integrated ecosystem can start to take place. 

9. Seoul, South Korea +9

Seoul is ranked first of only two cities currently in South Korea and has shown positive momentum in becoming one of the leaders in Asia. With a 9 point jump, it now sits within the 25 top 25 cities globally and is 6th overall in Asia, only slightly behind Tokyo and New Delphi. While still not fulfilling its full potential, Seoul has shown substantial development and will not need to move towards integrating more tech hubs within the country to facilitate new growth in its ecosystem development.   

10. Shenzhen, China / Mumbai, India +7

Both Shenzhen and Mumbai are the joint 10th fastest growing ecosystems

Shenzen

Now in 3rd place nationally, Shenzhen has outperformed Hong Kong this year and now stands 33rd globally, following similar growth in other regional Chinese hubs like Huangzou (4th) and Guangzhou (100th). The Mecca of hardware startups, Shenzhen is solidifying its position in global ecosystems and innovation development within a very strong vertical of hardware and IoT technologies. 

Mumbai

India overall had a disappointing year, with substantial declines in the rankings of its cities. In contrast, Mumbai has registered one of the fastest growing ecosystems, coming 22nd in the global startup rankings. While solidifying its location as a national hub in India, Mumbai will need the support of other regional hubs to drive business scores nationally. 


You can access more insights on global and regional economic development and our new Coronavirus Innovation Map that shows the best countries fighting the pandemic and facilitating new developments in the pandemic era.