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British tech firms seek Asia Pacific investment at London Tech Week

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak spoke yesterday at the London Tech Week.

This week is a big one for British tech firms. Yesterday marked the start of the 2023 London Tech Week, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak making a keynote speech. Sunak commented on the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) to improve education, creating the potential for decreased workloads among teachers.

However, AI also raises security concerns, with figures like Oxford Professor Nick Bostrom highlighting the potential risks of AI that becomes highly intelligent. Similarly, in recent news, one advisor to the PM, Chairman of the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) Matt Clifford, has highlighted the potential for AI to orchestrate advances that kill humans.

Earlier this year, the British government addressed the problem of the safe development of AI, announcing the creation of a new expert task force. As Chairman of the ARIA, Clifford is presently responsible for advising the PM on the development of the new task force.

Whilst concerns linger around the future development of AI, the drive for technological innovation and economic growth continues at London Tech Week.

Scheduled from the 12th to the 16th of June, the event is an opportunity for agents of the global tech sector to connect with each other. For example, start-up founders, corporate leaders, investors, innovators and tech unicorns (soonicorns).

Specifically, the event presents firms with the opportunity to pitch to Asia Pacific (APAC) investors for multi-million-pound deals.

Comprised of 600 delegates, the APAC delegation attending the London Tech Weak represents “investment funds managing over £100bn of assets”.

New investments have the potential to boast “innovative new projects” in fintech, clean tech and life sciences, as well as in AI. According to the Department for Business and Trade, the investment opportunities brought by London Tech Week are a reflection of Britain’s role in the world as a “tech superpower”.

Minister for Investment Lord Johnson has explained how the London Tech Week is an event at which Britain can show itself as a “science and technology superpower” and therefore “the number one place to invest.”

Earlier this year the British government articulated a plan to achieve the objective of cementing Britain as a science and technology superpower by 2030. Moreover, a key route to achieving this objective is through the development of international partnerships around the world.

The new investment opportunities presented by the London Tech Week follow the recent conclusion of Britain’s negotiations with CPTPP, an Indo-Pacific trading bloc with a combined GDP of nine trillion pounds amongst its 11 members across the Asia Pacific and the Americas.

The government secured admission to CPTPP back earlier this year, making Britain the first European country to gain admission to the trading bloc. Including Britain, CPTPP has a combined GDP of £11 trillion.

Moving back to international partnerships, one which has already been agreed is between Sunway Group, a leading conglomerate in Southeast Asia, and Deeptech Labs, a venture capitalist firm based in Cambridge. Set to be signed “on the banks of the River Thames”, the partnership will facilitate the acceleration of growth in net zero technology, as well as the opening of “new avenues for UK startups in the APAC region”.

Furthermore, Japanese startups Datagusto and Qufooit are amongst the APAC firms intending to move their HQs to Britain. According to the Department for Business and Trade, this is evidence of Britain’s “credentials” as a place to do business.

Also relevant to British economic interests in the APAC region is the award of a contract to Oxfordshire-based Intralink to manage the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme.

Part of Britain’s Digital Trade Network, the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme is an initiative designed to back the growth of British tech firms in the Asia Pacific region. The programme is intended to boost British exports of digital technology to APAC markets through increased private sector investment in British tech firms.

Paul Scully, Minister for Technology and the Digital Economy said: “Intralink’s work with the Digital Trade Network to bring together the UK and Asian tech communities is fundamental to our shared success.”

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