Department for International Trade
South East tech sector soars
The South East continues to dominate the tech industry alongside London.
- UK tech companies are seeing an increased global appetite for quality products
- The Digital Sector contributed £130.5 billion to the UK economy in 2017
- The Department for International Trade is helping UK tech companies enter new overseas markets
The UK’s world-leading digital tech sector has been going from strength to strength with exports of goods and services in 2016 worth £55 billion up 17.3% since the previous year.
UK tech exports to key overseas markets continue to boom with £10.3bn in exports to the USA, £2.1bn to Switzerland and £2.1bn to the Gulf states. The UK digital sector accounts for nearly a quarter of all UK exports and contributed £130.5 billion to the UK economy in 2017.
The South East continues to dominate the industry alongside London, producing world class technology and cutting-edge innovation, cementing the UK’s reputation as a world leader in tech. Companies across the region are seeing an increased global appetite for their quality products and experiencing export success with support and advice from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
DIT’s South East Export Champions, a network of businesses chosen to be ambassadors of exporting, are also helping the regions tech companies by sharing success stories, offering practical advice and leading by example. Export Champions in the South East that are leading the way in the tech industry and creating a culture of exporting include Guildford-based Gold-i, the first FinTech company to win a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. The business currently exports to 33 countries including Australia, China and Malaysia with Australia being its biggest market. The company’s current turnover is £3 million with international exports accounting for 68% of overall sales, estimated to increase to 80% by 2022. The company employs 30 people in Guildford.
Risk Decisions, a risk software and consultancy company of 20 people based in Oxford, is another South East Export Champion with ever-increasing export success. The company currently exports globally, with Australia being its biggest overseas market. This month Risk Decisions is opening an office in Toronto to support its solid customer base and develop new business with government departments and organisations in sectors such as defence, transport, infrastructure and energy. As a result, the company expects to increase its export turnover from 50% to 75% within 3 years.
Latest HMRC regional statistics also show that all goods exports from the South East increased by 4.84% from £45.4 billion for the year ending March 2018, to £47.7 billion for the year ending March 2019.
Ben Raby, Head of Region – South East at DIT said:
We are so proud that the South East continues to innovate cutting-edge technology making the region a national leader in the tech sector.
The UK is already seeing an increase for its world-leading tech as pioneering companies across the country power ahead in the global trade race.
DIT have a network of expert International Trade Advisers on hand to help more South East tech businesses respond to this demand and navigate the entire exporting process.
Many businesses have already benefited from the service that we offer, and we aim to inspire many more to explore new markets overseas.
Notes to Editors
Statistics sourced from:
- DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates 2016: Trade
- DCMS Sectors Economic Estimates 2017: GVA
- ONS UK Trade: March 2019
The Department for International Trade
DIT helps businesses export, drives inward and outward investment, negotiates market access and trade deals, and champions free trade.
We are an international economic department, responsible for:
- supporting and encouraging UK businesses to drive sustainable international growth
- ensuring the UK remains a leading destination for international investment and maintains its number one position for international investment stock in Europe
- opening markets, building a trade framework with new and existing partners which is free and fair
- using trade and investment to underpin the government’s agenda for a Global Britain and its ambitions for prosperity, stability and security worldwide.
- Latest statistics from the ONS show UK firms sold more overseas in the 2018/19 financial year, £639.9 billion, than at any time since records began. The UK has now achieved 36 consecutive months of export growth on an annual rolling basis.
- Separate OECD data shows UK exports grew faster than Germany, France and Italy between 2016 and 2018.
- The Export Strategy sets out how the government will support businesses of all sizes to make the most of the opportunities presented by markets around the world.
- A government-led collaboration with business, developed after extensive engagement with a range of UK firms - the Strategy sets a new ambition from government to increase exports as a proportion of UK GDP to 35%.
- It presents a streamlined and targeted offer for businesses of all sizes, set to raise productivity, boost wages and protect employment across the UK.
- This is just the start – in the months ahead DIT will lead work across government to assess what more we can do to support UK business to achieve a step change in their exporting performance.
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