Speaking ahead of the annual Silicon Dragon conference at the Google Campus in London, today, Tudor Aw – technology sector head at KPMG – argues that UK organisations face the risk of losing the global technology race if they don’t match the increasing pace of innovation in other countries, particularly China.
Aw’s comments come as delegates explore how Chinese Tech organisations have adapted to meet the challenge of a world increasingly dominated by cloud computing, mobile technology and artificial intelligence. He says: “British innovation may be responsible for much of today’s populist technology, but we cannot afford to rest on the laurels provided by the likes of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Sir Jonathan Ive and Alan Turing. We need fresh impetus to ensure British business continues to play a leading role in technological innovation.”
Innovation needed from Boardroom to basement
Focusing on the different approaches adopted in China and the UK, Tudor adds: “The hunt is on for the next Steve Jobs or Jack Ma, but the evidence suggests he or she is more likely to come from China than the UK. After all, it’s in the Far East that we have seen less resistance to change, with just 24 percent* believing that displacing existing tech roadmaps present a challenge for business. Quite simply, if the UK is to become known as a Twenty-First Century bastion of innovation, its organisations need to adopt a similar mentality.
“We are beginning to see China emerge as a real force in innovation, from network equipment and electric cars to genetic sequencing. It’s the result of an increased emphasis on innovation as the next crucial step is taken towards China’s evolving maturity and it’s something espoused at all levels - Government policy, Boardroom leadership and by youngsters entering the workforce. The fact is that every company wants to unearth its own Bill Gates or Masayoshi Son, but it seems that such a progressive approach means it’s the ones in China that are more likely to see them emerge.”
Investment = innovation
“There is also the question of funding. It may be unrealistic to expect companies to throw money at R&D, but without significant level of investment, innovation will falter. In the last few years, China has certainly fostered a growing environment for the development of disruptive technologies, with some estimates claiming that R&D spending is growing a rate of 20 percent per year.
“It’s difficult to compete against that level of spend, but the hope must be that the recent increase in focus on Tech Start Ups, tax incentives for R&D and patents, as well as the importance of science and technology within our core curriculum, will ensure that the UK will once again be well-placed to ensure its creative talent can compete as a global centre of tech innovation.”
Mike Petrook, KPMG Press Office
020 7311 5271 (t), 07917 384 576 (m) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
* KPMG Global Tech Innovation Survey, 2012
KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with over 12,000 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.8 billion in the year ended September 2012. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 156 countries and have 152,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. KPMG International provides no client services.