Sydney is the capital city of the state of New South Wales, and the most populous city in Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metropolis surrounds Port Jackson. Sydney is made up of 658 suburbs, spread across 33 local government areas. Informally there are at least 15 regions. Indigenous Australians have inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years, and thousands of engravings remain throughout the region, making it one of the richest in Australia in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites. Around 29 clan groups of the Eora Nation inhabited the region at the time of European contact.
Despite being one of the most expensive cities in the world, Sydney frequently ranks in the top ten most liveable cities in the world. Ranked eleventh in the world for economic opportunity, Sydney has an advanced market economy with strengths in finance, manufacturing and tourism. There is a significant concentration of foreign banks and multinational corporations in Sydney and the city is promoted as Australia's financial capital and one of Asia Pacific's leading financial hubs. Established in 1850, the University of Sydney was Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. Sydney is also home to the oldest library in Australia, the State Library of New South Wales, opened in 1826.
Sydney has hosted major international sporting events such as the 2000 Summer Olympics. The city is among the top fifteen most-visited cities in the world, with millions of tourists coming each year to see the city's landmarks. Boasting over 1,000,000 ha of nature reserves and parks, its notable natural features include Sydney Harbour, the Royal National Park, Royal Botanic Garden and Hyde Park, the oldest parkland in the country. Built attractions such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House are also well known to international visitors. The main passenger airport serving the metropolitan area is Kingsford-Smith Airport, one of the world's oldest continually operating airports. Established in 1906, Central station, the largest and busiest railway station in the state, is the main hub of the city's rail network.
The Financial and Insurance Services industry accounts for 18.1% of gross product and is ahead of Professional Services with 9% and Manufacturing with 7.2%. In addition to Financial Services and Tourism, the Creative and Technology sectors are focus industries for the City of Sydney and represented 9% and 11% of its economic output.
There are over 451,000 businesses based in Sydney, including 48% of the top 500 companies in Australia and two-thirds of the regional headquarters of multinational corporations. Global companies are attracted to the city in part because its time zone spans the closing of business in North America and the opening of business in Europe. Most foreign companies in Sydney maintain significant sales and service functions but comparably less production, research, and development capabilities. There are 283 multinational companies with regional offices in Sydney.
Sydney has been ranked between the fifteenth and the fifth most expensive city in the world and is the most expensive city in Australia. The largest reported occupations are professionals, clerical and administrative workers, managers, technicians and trades workers, and community and personal service workers. The largest industries by employment across Greater Sydney are Health Care and Social Assistance with 11.6%, Professional Services with 9.8%, Retail Trade with 9.3%, Construction with 8.2%, Education and Training with 8.0%, Accommodation and Food Services 6.7%, and Financial and Insurance Services with 6.6%. The Professional Services and Financial and Insurance Services industries account for 25.4% of employment within the City of Sydney.
The Australian Securities Exchange began operating in 1987 and with a market capitalisation of $1.6 trillion is now one of the ten largest exchanges in the world. The Financial and Insurance Services industry now constitutes 43% of the economic product of the City of Sydney. Sydney makes up half of Australia's finance sector and has been promoted by consecutive Commonwealth Governments as Asia Pacific's leading financial centre. Structured finance was pioneered in Sydney and the city is a leading hub for asset management firms. In the 2017 Global Financial Centres Index, Sydney was ranked as having the eighth most competitive financial centre in the world. 40 of the 43 foreign banks operating in Australia are based in Sydney, including the People's Bank of China, Bank of America, Citigroup, UBS, Mizuho Bank, Bank of China, Banco Santander, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, State Street, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Royal Bank of Canada, Société Générale, Royal Bank of Scotland, Sumitomo Mitsui, ING Group, BNP Paribas, and Investec.
Sydney is a manufacturing city with a focus on the domestic market and high-tech manufacturing. The Smithfield-Wetherill Park Industrial Estate in Western Sydney is the largest industrial estate in the Southern Hemisphere and is the centre of manufacturing and distribution in the region.
Sydney is a gateway to Australia for many international visitors. It has hosted over 2.8 million international visitors in 2013, or nearly half of all international visits to Australia. These visitors spent 59 million nights in the city and a total of $5.9 billion. The countries of origin in descending order were China, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Hong Kong, and India.
The city also received 8.3 million domestic overnight visitors in 2013 who spent a total of $6 billion. 26,700 workers in the City of Sydney were directly employed by tourism in 2011. There were 480,000 visitors and 27,500 people staying overnight each day in 2012. On average, the tourism industry contributes $36 million to the city's economy per day. Popular destinations include the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Watsons Bay, The Rocks, Sydney Tower, Darling Harbour, the State Library of New South Wales, the Royal Botanic Garden, the Australian Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Queen Victoria Building, Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, and Sydney Olympic Park.
Major developmental projects designed to increase Sydney's tourism sector include a casino and hotel at Barangaroo and the redevelopment of East Darling Harbour, which involves a new exhibition and convention centre, now Australia's largest.
Sydney is the highest-ranking city in the world for international students. More than 50,000 international students study at the city's universities and a further 50,000 study at its vocational and English language schools. International education contributes $1.6 billion to the local economy and creates demand for 4,000 local jobs each year.
Sydney is rated Alpha by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Alpha level cities are linked to major economic states and regions and into the world economy.
Sydney is the #10 city in the world according to the Global Power City Index (GPCI) which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to their magnetism, or their comprehensive power to attract people, capital, and enterprises from around the world. It does so through measuring six key functions: Economy, Research and Development, Cultural Interaction, Liveability, Environment, and Accessibility.
Sydney is the #32 city in the world according to the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI) which evaluates and ranks the competitiveness of the major financial centres of the world according to a wide range of criteria – Human Capital, Business, Finance, Infrastructure and Reputation.
Sydney is ranked #63 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Sydney is rated B by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. B cities are international hub cities. Sydney was ranked #46 by the Nomad List which evaluates and ranks remote work hubs by cost, internet, fun and safety. Sydney has a population of over 208,374 people. Sydney also forms part of the wider Sydney metropolitan area which has a population of over 5,367,206 people. Sydney is the #348 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 2.2118 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.