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Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the most populous British city outside the capital London and lies at the heart of the West Midlands conurbation, the second most populous urban area in the United Kingdom. Birmingham is a major international commercial centre, ranked as a beta− world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network; and an important transport, retail, events and conference hub. With a GDP of $90bn (2008 estimate, PPP), the economy of the urban agglomeration is the second largest in the UK and the 72nd largest in the world. Birmingham's three universities and two university colleges make it the largest centre of higher education in the United Kingdom outside London, and its major cultural institutions, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, enjoy international reputations.