Unraveling the Technology Divide

The tech sector in the United Kingdom is currently the fastest growing segment of its economy according to the UK based, DiversityInTech.co.uk. This means the UK is seeing its greatest gains in the area of technology development. Despite the fact that BAME (Black, Asian Minority Ethnic) make up only 15 percent of Britain’s tech sector, India has remained a longstanding partner for the UK; much in the same way China has been a longtime tech partner with the US. The result has yielded benefits for the UK, but perhaps far greater for India.

India has rapidly improved its innovation culture, jumping from 81 to 52 according to the Global Innovation Index in just four years between 2015 and 2019. Likely its partnerships with the UK have bolstered its numbers and it is preparing its pivot to dominance against the UK in much the same fashion as China. Outsourcing tech and other manufacturing had become a staple of the contemporary Western world, with the societies leaning heavily on their former colonial charges. 2020 data from Nasscom indicates that India has a tech workforce of over 4.6 million as reported in Hindustan Times. Those numbers almost double Britain’s IT workforce which sits at 2.9 million people, a report by the UK Digital Economy Council indicates.

India has rapidly improved its innovation culture, jumping from 81 to 52 according to the Global Innovation Index in just four years between 2015 and 2019.

It is without question that India will easily overtake British ambitions in this area. The numbers predict the future with even greater accuracy; which means it just a matter of time before the Indian “Tiktok,” or fintech platform emerges. The advent of blockchain and AI might well hasten the onset of platforms and interfaces that rival VenMo, Facebook, Google and Amazon.

What matters most in the Tech space, is marketshare. Once dominated by Western brands, a new reality has begun to emerge. Not only are developing economies providing tech sourcing on the backend of Western tech, but they are quickly becoming front runners in the industry.

Tiktok is perhaps the most noteable brand on the leaderboard, demonstrating that emerging and alternative economies can produce tech with the UX and UI capable of standing along side the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. In 2020, the US government under the Trump Administration attempted to ban the wildly popular Chinese-owned app. The battle that ensued brought to the fore the possibility that the US was willing to put the full force of it government behind shuttering tech engineered outside of Silicon Valley.

In 2020, the US government under the Trump Administration  attempted to ban the wildly popular Chinese-owned app. 

However, this move also brings more speculation about who owns the Tech space. Particularly, if a new player is forced to abort operating because its innovation begins to consume a large market share once dominated by Western makers. This is likely the question every tech founder should be pondering should its innovation reach critical mass like Tiktok. There are then implications for interfaces like Russian Telegram, Korean Samsung, or India’s Hyperlink Infosystems to name a few.

The truth is that many Western countries have become dependent on foreign human and natural resources. And like outsourced manufacturing, it is a conduit that delivers benefits in both directions. The fact is, certain developing economies like China and India have been able to make a dollar from a dime in their exchanges with Western markets.

Even the entire EU cannot compete with the IT workforce numbers in India or China. Currently, the Union registers a tech workforce of just 2.4 million people among 35 member states, or about 1 percent of its total combined workforce. With the advent of Brexit and other trade considerations, the EU may do even worse. Many Western European tech companies like Ericsson, Nokia and others are in their twilight, with more robust companies like SAP and ASML and Dassault occupying a disproportionate share of Western Europe’s real estate in the international tech sphere–despite aggressive and robust venture funding.

The future of tech may well be one of developing and emerging economies where actors are growing more savvy in negotiating their growth and longevity. Could it be that emerging economies are growth hacking the inequity of outsourcing in their favor? It is an exciting time and one in which technology again appears to be leveling the playing field. It may be that BAME populations only lag in opportunities in Western enclaves, but reshape the Global order in their own backyard.

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