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  • Type: Press release, Publication series
  • Date: 8/3/2012

China Projected to be on Par with US as a Future Tech Innovation Leader; Cloud, Mobile to Drive Breakthroughs in Coming Years: KPMG Survey 

With cloud and mobile technologies driving technological change, and China emerging as a true rival to the US, the findings indicate that the landscape for technology innovation is as fast-changing as the technologies themselves.
  • Silicon Valley’s position as tech innovation center may face challenge
  • Apple regarded globally as the top company driving disruptive innovation

Asked to predict future disruptive technologies and the next epicenter for innovation, technology executives worldwide believe that China and the US will be at the forefront, with Cloud enabling both the next indispensable consumer technology and business transformation for enterprises. Mobile technologies will continue to build on Cloud, providing the tech breakthrough that will transform businesses, according to the Global Technology Innovation survey by KPMG LLP (US), the audit, tax and advisory firm. 

 

Almost 30 percent of the 668 business executives in the Americas, Asia Pacific (ASPAC), Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said China and the US show the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs with global impacts, while 13 percent cited India.  Interestingly, only 39 percent of US respondents selected the US as most promising, while 71 percent in China selected China.

 

“The Russian market is generally following the global trends discussed in the survey. Mobile technologies, including both smartphones and mobile internet services, are growing rapidly. The mobile content market is gaining momentum fast. As in other countries, cloud solutions in Russia are getting more popular. However the size of this market is rather moderate compared to other countries. All of the above means that Russia has an opportunity to achieve a higher rank on the changing list of top innovation leaders worldwide on the condition that its Innovative Development Strategy is properly implemented,” said Alisa Melkonian, Partner, Head of Innovations & Technology, KPMG Russia and CIS.

 

To identify disruptive technologies and the scope of change two to four years out, KPMG surveyed executives from technology industry startups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors.

 

“The pace of technology innovations today is happening at unparalleled speed and China’s projected rapid rise to prominence as a technology leader would be another example of this,” said Gary Matuszak, partner, global chair and US leader for KPMG’s Technology, Media and Telecommunications practice.  “China’s anticipated parity with the US tech sector shows the significant challenge facing the US to retain its position as an innovation leader. Other countries will continue taking steps to boost technology innovation and to attract tech entrepreneurs.”

 

“These survey findings also demonstrate that China’s innovation investment has fostered an environment for the development of disruptive technologies that is growing by leaps and bounds. The Chinese Government is encouraging significant investment in three key areas – (1) shared services and outsourcing, (2) payments and cloud computing. The 12th Five-Year Plan is also driving innovation in these critical areas, in order to create a nationwide virtual environment,” said Egidio Zarrella, a partner with KPMG in China.


Asked what technology will have a major impact by 2015, 30 percent of the survey respondents globally said Cloud Software as a Service (SaaS) will enable the next indispensable consumer technology. In regard to driving business transformation, 22 percent said Cloud Infrastructure as a Service, followed closely by SaaS, will have the greatest impact. In the US, SaaS was the top selection in consumer and enterprise technologies.

 

“It is clear that technology leaders in countries where technology innovation is thriving believe that the Cloud represents a technology tidal shift. They are placing a huge bet on Cloud, as it has multiple capabilities and benefits for providers and users such as generating revenue, improving operational efficiency, reducing costs and time to market, and enabling other disruptive technologies such as mobile and social applications,” said Matuszak. “The significant Cloud investment that is under way is likely to spur technologies that drive breakthroughs in business transformation.”

 

Mobile technologies also are seen as a significant beneficiary of Cloud, as almost 30 percent of global respondents expect that the next tech breakthrough in four years resulting in the greatest business transformation will come from smartphones, tablets and other mobile technologies.

 

Potential challenge to Silicon Valley’s position as tech innovation center

 

Forty-four percent of global respondents said it was likely that what many consider the technology innovation center of the world would shift from Silicon Valley to another country in the next four years, while 23 percent of those surveyed said it is unlikely and 34 percent were undecided. Not surprisingly, only 28 percent of the US respondents think the shift is likely, while more than half in ASPAC, and more than 40 percent in EMEA see the move as likely. Of those globally who believe the center will shift, most (44 percent) said it would move to China.

 

Apple viewed as top innovator

 

In considering innovation drivers, visionaries and leaders, more business executives globally identified Apple, now led by Tim Cook, and former CEO Steve Jobs as tops in these three areas. As the top company driving disruptive innovation, Apple was followed by Google and Microsoft, according to the survey. Respondents also viewed Jobs as the top global innovation visionary, followed by Bill Gates. In China specifically, executives said Gates was the top visionary and Jack Ma the innovation leader. In India, Infosys was identified as the innovation leader, and in Israel, it was IBM.

 

At the same time, about one-third globally pointed to Google, Facebook and Amazon as emerging leaders in mobile commerce.

 

Innovation development, challenges, barriers

 

The survey uncovered differences in who or what function is responsible for driving innovation in companies. About three in 10 globally said the CEO has the responsibility to drive innovation in their company, while 20 percent, including half the respondents in China, said the Chief Innovation Officer. Fifteen percent each cited the Chief Information Officer and research and development.  Some 38 percent said that innovation is most often spotted and nurtured in the R&D department, followed by IT and strategic planning, while the majority of those surveyed use revenue growth as the metric to measure innovation value.

 

Asked whether their education system serves as an incubator for innovator thinkers, slightly more than half believed this was true. In China, close to 75 percent thought this was true, while in the US, less than half thought so.

 

In regard to adopting future technologies, cost/pricing models was pointed to by survey respondents as the top challenge to adopting the next indispensable consumer technologies, while security/privacy governance is the number one challenge to adopting future business transforming technologies and also is the top barrier to commercializing disruptive innovation.

 

“The fact that security/privacy governance is a challenge is not news, yet it’s an ongoing reminder of their importance as the business models continue to evolve,” said Matuszak. “The companies that develop a way to balance data-driven innovation with the appropriate transparency, privacy and information security frameworks to satisfy customers and regulators will have a competitive edge.”

About the KPMG 2012 Global Technology Innovation Survey


In the March - May 2012 survey of 668 business executives globally whose organizations were focused on the technology space, thirty-four percent of the respondents were in the Americas, 42 percent in Asia Pacific, and 23 percent in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In regards to countries, 25 percent were from the United States, 14 percent from China and 9 percent from Israel. 

 

This survey is the first project of the KPMG Technology Innovation Center, a global network created to identify and evaluate the impact of future disruptive technologies that may result in business transformation for the Technology industry. Launched today, June 27, the Center will connect leading global technology thinkers including entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 executives, and venture capitalists. The KPMG Technology Innovation Center will be headquartered in Santa Clara (Silicon Valley), California, USA, and will have physical hubs in other cities including Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA; and Bangalore, India.

 

“KPMG Global Centre for Innovations & Technology will enable us to employ best practices to deal with challenging tasks of our clients operating in this industry in Russia and CIS,” said Alisa Melkonian, Partner, Head of Innovations & Technology, KPMG Russia and CIS.

 

The global network includes China, Israel, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Russia, Canada, the U.K. and other countries. For more information visit: www.kpmg.com/techinnovation 

KPMG 2012 Global Technlogy Innovation Survey - Executive Summary

   With cloud and mobile technologies driving technological change, and China emerging as a true rival to the US, the findings indicate that the landscape for technology innovation is as fast-changing as the technologies themselves.