UK tech firms stride ahead in global leader race

Britain's tech and digital firms are leading the way in international trade growth

In a press release yesterday, the UK government announced that the country’s digital firms are pioneering international trade growth by more than 20%. The news comes amidst the country’s growing reputation as an AI hub, and reasserts the UK’s position as a strong candidate in the race to become a technological global leader.

The new figures published yesterday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) indicate that the digital sector exported more than £39bn in services in 2016, which has significantly increased from the 2015 figure of £32bn. According to the press release, this is a direct result of British firms capitalising on “the rapid digitalisation of the world economy.”

This is unprecedented growth of 21.8% year on year, and apparently illustrates that Britain is well-positioned to “seize any future trading opportunities” associated with innovative technology. The statistics also indicate that there has been international growth in the creative industries, such as publishing, advertising, marketing, film, TV, radio, and photography.

The Digital Secretary Matt Hancock has asserted that “these new statistics show our tech sector is in demand from businesses and consumers around the globe, with exports up by a fifth. We are working hard to create the right environment for them to thrive and alongside the huge innovation of the private sector are determined to seize all the future opportunities technology will bring.”

The Government claims to be supporting the technology sector through its Digital and Industrial Strategies, with almost £1 billion of investment in artificial intelligence, “competitive tax relief”, a commitment to spend 2.4% of GDP on research and development, alongside skills and business mentoring initiatives like Tech Nation.

Exports of goods by the digital sector also appear strong, according to the statistics, these were up by 7.3% and worth more than 15bn. These figures are based on the types of products, rather than business activity, and encompass products such as software, manufactured electronics, and computers.