Cardiff is the capital city and one of the 22 principal areas of Wales. It is Wales' largest city, the eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom, the main commercial centre of Wales. Cardiff Built-up Area covers a larger area outside the county boundary, including the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth. It is the most popular tourist destination in Wales.
Cardiff Bay contains the Senedd building (housing the Senedd, the Welsh Parliament) and the Wales Millennium Centre arts complex. Work continues at Cardiff Bay and in the centre, on projects such as Cardiff International Sports Village, BBC drama village, and a new business district.
As the capital city of Wales, Cardiff is the main engine of growth in the Welsh economy. Though the population of Cardiff is about 10% of the Welsh population, the economy of Cardiff makes up nearly 20% of Welsh GDP and 40% of the city's workforce are daily in-commuters from the surrounding South Wales area.
Industry has played a major part in Cardiff's development for many centuries. The main catalyst for its transformation from a small town into a big city was the demand for coal required in making iron and later steel. At its peak, Cardiff's port area, known as Tiger Bay, became the busiest port in the world and over 3 million tonnes of cargo passed through the docks in 2007.
Cardiff today is the main finance and business services centre in Wales, with strong representation of finance and business services in the local economy. This sector, combined with the public administration, education and health sectors, have accounted for about 75% of Cardiff's recent economic growth. The city was recently placed seventh overall in the top 50 European cities in the fDI Cities of the Future list published by the fDi magazine, and ranked seventh in terms of attracting foreign investment. Notable companies such as Legal & General, Admiral Insurance, HBOS, Zurich, ING Direct, The AA, Principality Building Society, 118118, British Gas, Brains, SWALEC Energy and BT, all operate large national or regional headquarters and contact centres in the city, some of them based in Cardiff's office towers such as Capital Tower and Brunel House. Other major employers include NHS Wales and the Senedd.
Cardiff is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United Kingdom, receiving 18.3 million visitors in 2010 and generating £852 million for the city's economy. One result is that one in five employees in Cardiff is based in the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the growing retail and tourism industries in the city. The city has many hotels of varying sizes and standards, providing almost 9,000 available beds.
Cardiff is home to the Welsh media and a large media sector with BBC Cymru Wales, S4C and ITV Wales all having studios in the city. There is a large independent TV production industry sector of over 600 companies, employing around 6,000, with a turnover estimated at £350 million. Just to the north-west of the city, in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the first completely new film studios in the UK for 30 years are being built, to be named Valleywood. The studios are set to be the biggest in the UK. In 2011 the BBC completed the Roath Lock studios in Cardiff Bay to film dramas such as Casualty, Doctor Who, and Pobol y Cwm. Cardiff has several regeneration projects, such as St David's 2 Centre and surrounding areas of the city centre, and the £1.4 billion International Sports Village in Cardiff Bay, which played a part in the London 2012 Olympics. It features the only Olympic-standard swimming pool in Wales, the Cardiff International Pool.
According to the Welsh Rugby Union, the Principality Stadium contributed £1 billion to the Welsh economy in the ten years after it opened in 1999, with around 85% of that staying in the Cardiff area.
Cardiff is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Cardiff was ranked #1073 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Cardiff has a population of over 353,000 people. Cardiff also forms part of the wider Cardiff and South Wales valleys metropolitan area which has a population of over 1,140,165 people. Cardiff is the #53 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 5.4012 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores per 100,000 city residents.