• Type: Press release
  • Date: 7/24/2012

KPMG survey: China challenges US as tech innovation leader in a cloud-driven future 

Bucharest, 24 July 2012


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.


  • Read the study here.


Almost 30 percent of the 668 business executives in the Americas, Asia Pacific (ASPAC), Europe, including Romania, 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.


“Innovation is the focus of the technology sector today and speed is the attribute which needs to define it. Without innovation you are left behind and without speed you are surpassed by the challengers of the technology market“ said Aurelia Costache, Management Consulting Partner at KPMG in Romania. “This is proven by China’s anticipated parity with the US tech sector and China’s projected rapid rise to prominence as a technology leader in the near future.”


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. With 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.


“The technology leaders included in our survey 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 its providers and users such as revenue generation, cost reduction, operational efficiency, mobile and social applications enablement” said Aurelia Costache. ”This is the case also in Romania, where cloud service providers are starting to better define their value proposition and attract both business and consumer clients.”


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 it was the Chief Innovation Officer.

“The Chief Innovation Officer position isn’t so spread out in European organizations. However, its existence in more than half of the Chinese organizations included in the survey shows the importance given to innovation in a country which strives for development and is in pole position for taking the lead in technology innovation” said Aurelia Costache. “Romanian companies should follow China or US’s example and embrace the innovation strategy to maintain their competiveness and present a viable alternative to local resources looking for relocation.”


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.

With 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.


“Security/privacy governance has always been a challenge for the adoption of new technologies in the business sector. However, one should not wait until a technology reaches its full maturity before adopting it.” said Aurelia Costache. “At KPMG, we think that organizations should look to maintain their competitive edge by the balancing the adoption of new technology with appropriate privacy and information security frameworks to satisfy both customers and regulators.”

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, the Middle East and Africa. With regard 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, 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. The global network includes China, Israel, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Russia, Canada, the U.K. and other countries. For more information visit:

Media Enquiries

Maria Stancu

Marketing Director


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