UK tech firms accelerating overseas growth plans

UK tech firms accelerating overseas growth plans
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ SFIO CRACHO

Tech businesses in the UK are stepping up plans for overseas growth as the uncertainty surrounding Brexit endures, according to new research.

The ‘State of Global Expansion Report 2019’ from Velocity Global surveyed senior decision-makers at 500 UK tech firms. It found that 90% are looking to expand their operations into new markets overseas.

Almost half of those businesses (43%) say that the uncertainty caused by Brexit is a key driver behind their plans for overseas growth.

The research also found that UK tech companies are looking to move quickly. While 57% of the firms surveyed have a presence in one or more foreign markets currently, this is expected to rise to 87% by the end of 2019.

They see Europe (46%) and Asia (19%) as the regions with the most potential to drive future revenue and profit growth, with Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, China, Japan and India as the target countries of choice.

Yet just 12% see North America as an attractive growth market and only 10% are considering the Middle East.

Alongside concerns surrounding Brexit, UK tech firms said that overseas growth is also being driven by a desire to grow their customer base (52%), find the right skills and expertise (41%), upscale (33%), access cheaper resources (28%) and merge or acquire businesses (12%).

The findings show that UK tech businesses expect an average of 43% of their sales growth to come from overseas markets over the next five years.

“While the survey findings reveal an ambitious UK tech sector that is focused on international growth, it’s clear that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is playing its role in accelerating those expansion plans,” said Ben Wright, CEO of Velocity Global.

“The US and major Asian economies are often seen as top hubs for growing tech businesses. But despite the uncertainty around the UK’s future relationship with Europe, British tech firms see the region as the strongest platform to deliver future growth.”