The UK drops to fourth in global innovation, disruption and technology

The UK drops to fourth in global innovation

Ian West, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms at KPMG UK, comments on The UK drops to fourth in global innovation.


Also on

  • U.S., China and India beat the UK to claim top three position
  • London, as a tech hub, has risen to second place from third in 2019
  • Less than four in 10 think the technology innovation centre of the world will move from Silicon Valley in the next four years.

London, 5 March 2020 – The UK has dropped one place, to fourth, in KPMG’s annual ranking of most promising countries in the world for disruptive technology breakthroughs that have a global impact.

The 810 technology executives surveyed from companies, venture capital firms and angel investors across 12 countries, ranked the UK in fourth place with Japan in KPMG’s 2020 Technology Innovation Hubs report – coming behind the U.S., and both China and India, which tied for second place. Although the U.S., China and Japan have held steady in their ranking since last year, this is a significant improvement for India which ranked sixth in 2019.

Ian West, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms at KPMG UK, said:

“The UK has always been a destination for technology, ranging from names synonymous with research such as the Alan Turing Institute or, in today’s competitive and digital-first landscape, initiatives such as the government’s recent investment into a cutting-edge NHS AI lab.

“Additionally, business collaborations like KPMG’s partnership with the University of Leeds in a £40m innovation hub, will be key in propelling the UK’s position as a global stalwart of innovation.

“With greater political and economic certainty comes a very real opportunity to attract investment, infrastructure and talent of the highest standard to all regions of the country.”

KPMG’s study revealed which cities, in addition to presumed global leader Silicon Valley/San Francisco, will be leading technology innovation hubs over the next four years. This year 37% of respondents, compared to 58% last year, said it was likely the innovation centre of the world would move from Silicon Valley in the next four years.

London moved up one notch to second place behind Singapore, which leaped from seventh last year, to top this year’s global rankings. Respondents listed modern infrastructure, including high-speed bandwidth, urban locale that is attractive to young professionals, at least one research-intensive university, available investment funding, and a pipeline of skilled talent, as the top five most important factors in enabling a city to become a technology innovation centre.

Commenting on the research, Bina Mehta, Partner for KPMG Private Enterprise said:

“Despite the political uncertainty of the last few years, London continues to attract an increasing number of disruptors and innovative businesses, offering a supportive ecosystem which appeals to investors and entrepreneurs from across the globe. With strong infrastructure and a diverse talent pool, London has consistently produced impressive scaleup businesses and unicorns attracting increasing levels of global investment.

“The Capital is not only a global hub for big data and fintech but home to a diverse group of innovative businesses, from the life sciences and deep-tech spin outs coming from leading universities such as Imperial College to the creative digital businesses in the West End. With Brexit now decided and clarity around the new Global Talent visa programme, the UK and London will continue to shine when it comes to its technology pedigree.”

New cities that also took major steps forward this year include Singapore, Tel Aviv which rocketed from 15th to third place, and Bengaluru which jumped from 18th to ninth.

Cities that were outside the top 20 last year but made this year’s list include Chicago, Frankfurt, Mumbai, Shenzhen, Montreal, and Dallas. Cities that were in the top 20 last year but dropped out include Washington, DC; Paris; Amsterdam; Barcelona; and Los Angeles.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors

About the research

The 2020 KPMG Technology Industry Innovation Survey, in its eighth year, consisted of 810 technology leaders (54% C-level executives) across twelve countries. The online survey was conducted from December 2019 to January 2020.

2020 Top 20 global rankings outside Silicon Valley/San Francisco

(2019 Top 20 in brackets, NR = not ranked in the Top 20)

1. Singapore (7)
2. London (3)
3. Tel Aviv (15)
4. Tokyo (3)
5. New York City (1)
6. Shanghai (5)
7. Beijing (2)
8. Seoul (8)
9. Bengaluru (18)
10. Hong Kong (12)
11. Austin (9)
12. Boston (9)
13. Berlin (11) and Chicago (20)
15. Frankfurt (NR)
16. Mumbai (NR)
17. Shenzhen (NR)
18. Montreal (NR)
19. Dallas (NR)
20. Taipei (5)

About KPMG in the UK

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 17,600 partners and staff. The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.40 billion in the year ended 30 September 2019. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 147 countries and territories and has more than 219,000 people 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. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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