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US leading technology drive: KPMG report
Written by Deborah Ritchie
Technology executives worldwide believe that the United States is the country most likely to come up with the next ‘disruptive technology breakthrough’ that will have a global impact in the next four years, according to the latest Global Technology Innovation survey by advisory firm KPMG.
KPMG surveyed 811 technology business leaders worldwide from technology industry start-ups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors in order to identify disruptive technologies, innovation trends, and the scope of change. In a change from last year’s survey (when the US and China tied for top spot), 37% of the respondents said the United States shows the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs, while 24% cited China, and 10% predicted India, followed by Korea (seven per cent), Japan (six per cent) and Israel (6%). The UK was named by only one per cent of respondents as a future hotspot for the next disruptive breakthrough and ranks number nine in the list jointly with Russia.
Tudor Aw, KPMG head of technology, Europe comments: “This survey shows that at the moment the global tech community does not see the UK as hotspot for future technology innovation. This underestimates the tremendous talent, creativity and favourable conditions we have in place.
"We need to do a better job of promoting 'Tech UK' as a brand overseas so people understand all the strengths we have, as well as our existing world leading capability. Good examples of this include graphene which is seen as a technology that will revolutionise the 21st century; two physicists from Manchester University won the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in this field. Another example is our world leading companies in the field of semiconductor IP used in smart phones.”
This year the survey also debuts a confidence index gauging each country’s prospects for tech innovation. The index is based on tech leaders in each market rating their country on ten success factors including talent, infrastructure, incentives, and capital. India took the lead with an index of 72. The country’s technology leaders gave high marks for talent, mentoring, ability to drive customer adoption, technology breakthroughs, and technology infrastructure with the lowest rating reserved for government incentives. Israel ranked second (71 points), while the US came third (65 index points).
The UK reached 50 index points ranking ninth, which the advisory suggests makes UK tech executives "less happy" than tech executives in other leading economies about their access to key resources, such as capital, talent and tech infrastructure.
In order to enable tech innovation the two factors most often cited by tech executives worldwide were availability of talent and access to capital. Asked about accessibility to key resources, UK executives seem less satisfied than their colleagues in other countries. For example, only 44% of UK tech executives said that talent is sufficient accessible to them (India 75%, China 62%). Forty one per cent of UK executives said they that tech infrastructure is sufficiently accessible, compared to 67% in the US and 69% in India. And only 33% of UK executives thought they have sufficient access to funding compared with 78% in India.
UK tech executives also cast doubt on the ability of the UK’s education system to enable future innovation. Only 23% of UK respondents consider the education system to be successfully contributing to driving innovation, less than executives from all the other major economies surveyed.
KPMG's Aw said: "A real area of concern continues to be education that is relevant for the tech sector, something that is increasingly been raised and debated. We need to ensure that sufficient resources are placed on relevant education that will support hard core technology innovation and development, not just how to utilise technology applications.”
However, UK companies are more optimistic about the sector’s outlook than many of their counterparts in other countries. Intentions to employ more staff is higher in the UK than either China or the US, with 16% of UK companies to hire at least 100 people in the next year (compared to 11% and six per cent respectively.) Only tech companies based in India, KPMG says, are seeking to hire more, with a quarter of companies intending to hire in the next 12 months.
KPMG's April – June 2013 survey took the views of 811 business executives globally whose organisations were focused on the technology space, 34% of the respondents were in the Americas, 37% in Asia-Pacific, and 30% in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Twenty-five per cent of respondents were from the United States, 12% from China and nine per cent from India.