UK tech firms power ahead in global trade race

Pioneering UK digital firms have seen their international trade grow by more than 20 per cent, underlining the country’s reputation as a world leader in tech.

New figures published today by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show the digital sector exported more than £39 billion in services in 2016, up from £32 billion in 2015, as UK firms capitalised on the rapid digitisation of the world economy. This is unprecedented growth of 21.8 per cent year on year and shows Britain is well-placed to seize the future trading opportunities linked to cutting-edge technology, says the Government.

Exports of goods in the digital sector, in which figures are based on the types of products rather than business activity, were also strong. This includes products such as software and manufactured electronics and computers rather than computer programming, consultancy, and information services. Exports of goods by the digital sector were up 7.3 per cent and worth more than £15bn.

Digital Secretary Matt Hancock said: “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 is supporting the technology sector through its Digital and Industrial Strategies, almost £1 billion of investment in artificial intelligence, competitive tax relief, a commitment to spend 2.4 per cent of GDP on research and development, as well skills and business mentoring initiatives such as Tech Nation.