Due to its convenient location close to the capital, Reading has benefitted from its successful neighbour's affluence: the town is home to a myriad of British and international corporations of note such as computer giants Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and Microsoft; manufacturers of shaving products, Gillette; huge financial institution, the Prudential.
Because of this ability to attract the cream of business to the town, Reading's 144,000 residents enjoy a higher average standard of living than many other cities of similar size.
In terms of transport links, Reading is well-connected: the town lies on the Great Western Main Line (among others) and so London, in the shape of Paddington or Waterloo stations, is within easy reach; the M4 motorway runs just to the south of the town; both Gatwick and Heathrow airports are within a short shuttle bus ride away.
Reading is located at the point at which the smaller River Kennet meets the Thames, not far from Henley-On-Thames, and until the emergence of road and rail the town's trade was well served by these waterways.
Nowadays, apart from its multinationals, Reading also boasts a vast array of department stores (with all major high-street names represented) which boost the local economy to make the town one of the south-east's most successful.
Reading has several sporting institutions worth a mention, the most obvious of which being Reading FC who are housed at the recently-constructed 24,000-seater Madejski Stadium - the ground was named after the club chairman, whose money has kept the club solvent in recent years. The Premiership Rugby Union side, London Irish, also have their home ground in Reading.