UK is world’s fifth largest exporter of tech services

William Arsn

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© Provided by City AM

The number of tech exports from the UK have surged in the past year, making it one of the world’s largest exporter of technology services. 

Last year UK exports of technology services grew to £23.3bn, sitting behind just India, the US, China and Germany in the global rankings.

Tech Nation’s ‘Unlocking Global Tech’ report published today reveals the UK’s digital tech services currently export a greater amount of goods than they import, generating a significant trade surplus of 55 per cent in 2019. This compares to the average global trade surplus of 48 per cent. 

This is in part driven by the relatively high number – 7,497 – of high growth exporting tech companies. 

The surplus has increased 68 per cent over the past four years, from £8.7bn in 2015 to £12.8bn in 2019, just behind the insurance sector (£16.9bn) and financial services (£43.4bn). 

And recent forecasts project exports to grow another 35 per cent by 2025, which would add £8.15bn worth of tech exports bringing the total to £31.45bn. 

“UK founders, government and industry leaders should all be gearing up to double tech exports by 2025, in the aftermath of both the pandemic and Brexit”, said Tech Nation’s chief executive Gerard Grech.

“By doubling exports, UK tech could contribute an additional £23bn to the economy per year by 2025 and move up the ranks to become a top global exporter of tech.” 

Europe has traditionally been the main destination of UK exports but there are increasingly attractive markets beyond the continent for the UK to trade with after Brexit. 

The US was the biggest importer of tech services last year, valued at £34bn, followed by Germany at £33bn and China at £21bn. 

UK leads Europe for digital trading 

Tech Nation has also released a Global Opportunities Index that ranks the top 25 most attractive countries to do business with. 

The US and UK lead the world for digital trading opportunities. This is underpinned by the UK’s resilient retail and e-commerce sales, valued at £688.4bn. 

Brazil and Singapore are among the fastest rising markets for trade with the UK, climbing five and 17 places respectively in the rankings for tech opportunity between 2019 and 2020.

Brazil, long lauded as an emergency economy, continues to have untapped potential for international tech trade, according to Tech Nation. With a population of over 210m, it offers UK tech firms the opportunity to develop solutions for a growing market.  

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