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Sector Overview

The UK is the technology capital of Europe, ranked fourth in the Global Innovation Index with 30 significant technology clusters across the UK. We generate more output and attract more technology-driven investment than any other European country.
The UK is also well-known as the leading global centre of innovation for big data analytics and AI, with London a global centre for fintech innovation.
The UK's strength in technology innovation is driven by a strong talent pool, world-leading universities (with Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, and UCL being particularly prominent in the technology field), and easy access to venture capital funding that promotes early-stage innovation.
In 2020, £15bn was invested in UK tech companies in the face of challenging conditions, behind only the US and China. The UK is ranked third for investment in critical emerging technologies including AI, robotics, cybersecurity, blockchain, the internet of things, virtual reality, and augmented reality, accounting for 15% of all investment into technology sector. It is also ranked third in the world for tech unicorns, behind only the US and China, with 80 companies valued at over US$1 billion.
Having the third-largest digital technology sector in the world means the UK is a global technology leader, and its state-of-the-art capabilities and resources mean it will stay ahead of the curve in the years to come.


UK tech VC investment is third in the world, hitting a record high of $15bn in 2020 in the face of challenging conditions.

No. 1

UK deep tech investment rose by 17% in 2020, the highest rate of growth globally.


The UK is third in the world for investment into impact tech, which has increased 160% since 2018 while in the US it rose by 15% over the same period.


London is fourth for tech VC investment globally behind San Francisco, Beijing and New York at $10.6bn.


The UK tech startup and scaleup ecosystem is valued at $585bn - 120% more than in 2017, and more than double the next most valuable ecosystem, Germany, at $291bn.


Tech is becoming more important for the UK economy. The rate of tech GVA contribution to the UK economy has grown on average by 7% per year since 2016.

Global Rankings

The UK ranks 4th in 2020 Global Innovation Index. UK maintains top three lead in the qualigty of universities (2nd) and quality of scientific publications (1st). UK also hosts four Science and Technology clusters in the top 100: London, Cambridge, Oxford and Manchester.

Global Technology Leader

The UK has one of the largest technology ecosystems and has the third-largest digital technology sector in the world. It is a global technology leader. UK's state-of-the-art capabilities and resources mean it will stay ahead of the curve in the years to come.


In 2035, AI will bring $814bn of new economic power to the UK. The UK government has invested heavily in attracting international talents. In 2017, the UK established the Rutherford fund to recruit overseas innovative talents.

Big Data

The UK is the largest third-party data center market in Europe. From 2015 to 2020, big data analysis has brought about £24.1m to the UK economy; more than 80% of UK organizations have officially adopted at least one cloud service.

Internet of things

Most of the growth of the Internet of things industry in the UK now comes from the wearable device and white goods market. At present, these two markets account for 40% of the Internet of things industry. By 2024, most of the growth in the Internet of things is expected to be in the automotive, consumer electronics and public utilities sectors.

Artificial intelligence is the ability of machine to imitate the cognitive function of human brain, such as learning ability and problem-solving ability. It includes machine learning, deep learning and natural language processing. The UK is one of the countries with the most successful AI startups in the world. Accenture research shows that AI will bring £654bn of economic growth to the UK by 2035.

Data analysis covers data capture, storage, management and analysis (including big data analysis and data visualization). The UK is the largest third-party data center market in Europe, benefiting from the growth of cloud computing, creative content, big data analysis, Internet of things and smart city development. From 2015 to 2020, big data analysis brought about £24.1m to the UK economy. Seven UK research committees have invested in big data analysis projects with a total investment of more than £300m.

The Internet of things is an information carrier such as Internet and traditional telecommunication network, which enables all ordinary objects speaks with each other. The UK is the pioneer of Internet of things technology, and it is expected to achieve 36% growth by the end of 2024, reaching 156 million Internet of things connections. By 2020, the Internet of things will boost the UK economy to £81bn.

The UK is an innovation base for electronic engineering, semiconductor design and optoelectronics. The development of electronic communication products has great business environment and infrastructure. As an important part of the UK's modern industrial strategy,UK government has always support the communication industry. The UK is the largest information and communication industry base in the EU, with more than 8000 enterprises. The UK is also the largest mobile phone communication market in Europe, with a market value of £14bn.

UK is one of the countries that is leading on smart cities construction with the support of the advanced technology of the Internet of things, the integration of urban transport, energy and security network systems and data analysis in the UK. UK engineering and construction companies have used their expertise in urban planning and design to build smart cities in the UK and around the world.

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