The UK Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will launch the Digital Trade Network in Asia Pacific (APAC). The UK Budget has committed £8 million to launch and run this network over the next three years in the APAC region.
By increasing UK digital tech expertise on the ground across a number of key markets - including Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and Australia - the network will support UK-Asia Pacific tech collaboration in this fast-growing, vibrant region.
As the global economy evolves following COVID-19, demand for digital tech solutions is increasing - from improving supply chain resilience to managing expanded e-commerce. Forging new partnerships between the UK and APAC through this new Digital Trade Network will help digital tech businesses respond to this demand, and create exciting new trade and investment opportunities.
Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific, Natalie Black CBE said,
“Digital technology is more important than ever, delivering innovations that improve people’s lives and make businesses more productive – as we’ve seen through the COVID-19 pandemic. Strengthening the UK’s partnership with Asia Pacific through this new Digital Trade Network will allow us to create new collaborations, driving trade and investment and ensuring we all benefit from the best global digital innovation.”
Tech Nation – the UK tech scale up experts – will join the Digital Trade Network by extending their successful Entrepreneur Engagement Network internationally - in Japan, Singapore and Australia. The network will support tech scale ups in Asia Pacific interested in the UK market, by providing a direct link to key tech clusters across the country.
The UK is a world-leader in tech and digital, attracting more than £10bn worth of investment in 2019, ranking third only behind the US and China.
The UK has demonstrated its strength in creating successful tech businesses in recent years, with 79 tech unicorns developed in the UK – more than Germany, France and Israel combined.
Scaling UK tech businesses are already noticing the opportunity in Asia Pacific – a survey by Tech Nation of one of their cohorts of companies found stronger levels of interest in an international trip to Singapore than the US West Coast.
Leading UK tech companies will participate in an international mission to Asia Pacific, as part of Tech Nation’s programmes in FinTech, AI and Cyber, to showcase UK expertise in these areas and explore trade and investment opportunities.
Gerard Grech, Chief of Executive of Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, said:
“The UK needs a tech-fuelled recovery, and that means opportunities to grow businesses from domestic ideas to international brands. With the next billion people going online in the APAC region for the first time, and with 80% of companies joining our recent programmes listing International Expansion as a top priority, we are delighted to support the launch of the Digital Trade Network pilot. The APAC region is of huge strategic importance to the UK and connecting businesses into local networks, such as Singapore, Japan and Australia, using on-the-ground expertise will help UK-based innovative and R&D heavy businesses make the leap into these new key markets. We very much look forward to working in conjunction with the UK’s Department for International Trade and forging strong partnerships between the UK and APAC markets.”
The announcement was one of the new measures to support the UK tech sector’s long-term recovery from coronavirus, with the aim to increase digital trade and ensure the industry benefits from new trade and investment opportunities including future free trade agreements (FTAs).