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  1. ITV Report

Man Francisco: a tale of two cities and their tech industries

San Francisco's landmarks make fitting backdrops for blockbusters. Photo: Adam McClean

It is among the most iconic of locations. San Francisco's landmarks make fitting backdrops for blockbusters. But here there is a familiar northern pride.

Spud Hilton, Travel Editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, said: "I love the diversity of people. I love the diversity of cultures and of ideas. We’ve got it all up here and being northern is something to be proud of in California."

This year the San Francisco Chronicle has placed Manchester on its 'where to go in 2017' list. It is maybe an unlikely place to find Americans on vacation.

The newspaper's travel writers drew comparisons between the two cities. Both are hubs of industry and are famous for cloudy weather, trams and vibrant gay communities.

Jeanne Cooper, San Francisco Chronicle

It is believed that new direct flights linking Manchester and San Francisco could give rise to a so-called class of technology sector 'supercommuters' that work between the two cities. Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook have both taken up the route this year.

52,000 people work in tech in Manchester, with a total of 283,000 across the North West. An increasing number are travelling to the US on new direct flights to do business.

From the phones we carry in our pockets to the apps that keep us entertained, Silicon Valley is the capital of innovation. For that reason British businesses are keen to be here.

By frequently travelling to California the SwapBots team from Liverpool have been able to form relationships with partners that will help take their product to market.

Annie O'Toole, SwapBots

Our tech industry produces £10bn of output. It is a growing and in some places thriving sector. But what is it about California that is leading entrepreneurs like Luke Massie to build relationships here?

The Preston-based founder of ticket exchange app Vibe Tickets said: "Silicon Valley has been able to do something that not many places in the world have been able to do.

"They have built an ecosystem that doesn't just have access to capital but it has access to advice. They're thirty years into a cycle of having people that have been there and done it," Luke continued.

Luke Massie, Vibe Tickets

The allure of prospective investment is enough for British entrepreneurs looking to crack America, but many come here for ideas to develop and grow their businesses.

A team from the Manchester-based app Wakelet joined a trade mission to California on the very first flight from the North West. They spent four days in Silicon Valley to learn from business giants and have told their story through the Wakelet platform.

Annie O'Toole of Liverpool's SwapBots attended a 'women in tech' event in San Francisco. Both here and at home it is an industry that wants to sweep away stereotypes, with an estimated 1 in 5 digital start-ups in Northern England employing an all-male workforce.

Scott Fletcher, ANS Group

As a Brit this is quite a friendly place to be. There is undoubtedly a fond anglophilia. Nestled among the city's skyscrapers there is a small shop called 'You Say Tomato' that sells just British groceries.

From baked beans to Manchester marmalade, British products are attracting customers from across the Bay Area. This American appetite for the UK is something our entrepreneurs hope to take advantage of.

The home comforts continue at San Francisco's Cat Club. Their monthly Madchester night attracts huge crowds to a venue that would not look out of place in the Northern Quarter.

There may be 5,191 miles between Manchester and San Francisco, but there is just something about it that makes it feel a lot closer than half the world away.