China, U.S. Lead as Global Technology Innovators

China and the US are the top two countries with the greatest potential to drive technology breakthroughs and likely to have a global impact in the next four years, according to a recent global technology innovation survey by KPMG.


KPMG’s 2013 Global Technology Innovation Survey draws insights from 811 technology business leaders globally - from technology industry start-ups, mid-sized to large enterprises, venture capital firms and angel investors - in order to identify disruptive technologies, innovation trends and the scope of change.


Over one-third of the respondents (37 percent) said the U.S. shows the most promise for disruptive breakthroughs, while 24 percent cited China, and 10 percent predicted India. The U.S. and China tied for the top spot (30 percent) in the 2012 survey.


Egidio Zarrella, Partner, Clients and Innovation Consulting, KPMG China says: “China continues to innovate at impressive speed. We believe that domestic consumption in the country will drive the majority of new innovation. China will innovate for China’s sake. This is supported by Chinese consumers who are driving the desire for local brands, which are unique to this market.”


This year the survey also debuts a confidence index gauging each country’s prospects for tech innovation. The index is based on tech leaders in each market rating their country on 10 success factors including talent, infrastructure, incentives, and capital.


China scored 64 out of 100, ranked fourth jointly with Singapore, after India, Israel and the U.S. China’s score was driven by its availability of talent, access to capital and mentoring and innovation networks, however it was rated a lower mark for its educational system.


“We see Chinese organisations increasingly establishing innovation hubs where their research and development can thrive. We believe this will also help to bridge any gaps where Chinese brands may face difficulties when looking to expand into the global market,” adds Zarrella.


In terms of the technologies to fuel innovation, respondents from China said cloud (35 percent), mobile (22 percent) and digital media (7 percent) will enable the next indispensable consumer technology in the next three years. The rankings are somewhat different from the global results where the top choices are mobile (32 percent), cloud (29 percent) and biometrics - gesture/facial/voice (4 percent).


When asked which technologies would drive business transformation for enterprises, cloud and mobile ranked as top two choices for both China and global respondents; artificial intelligence ranked third in China, compared with big data/analytics globally.


China’s technology executives said they believe mobile innovation has advanced significantly, and much quicker than other regions of the world; consequently they are increasingly focusing on cloud innovation, the survey noted.


Separately, fewer executives (33 percent versus 44 percent in 2012) believe the technology innovation centre of the world will shift from Silicon Valley to another country in the next four years, the survey noted. Still, 49 percent of respondents from China said they think the technology innovation centre will move away from Silicon Valley, down from 60 percent in 2012.


Zarrella concludes: “China is now being perceived as a future innovation hub. To fulfill this perception, China needs to continue with its heavy investment in state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, education and providing greater incentives in order to build an environment that inspires and promotes greater innovation.”

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