Will governments tighten the grip on big tech?
This week, Tramshed Tech Co-Founder Mark John joined a panel discussion at FinTech Week London alongside Iain Anderson from Cicero/AMO, Lord Chris Holmes and Virginie O’Shea from Firebrand Research.
Themed around governments increasingly tightened grip on big tech, this panel spotlighted the power and exponential growth of Big Tech and governments’ battle to keep them in check. Over the past 6 months alone, UK regulators have probed Amazon, Facebook and Google about abusing their market dominance and the consequences of this.
A much discussed example of this is the Jack Ma’s Ant Group debacle which saw their $37bn (£27bn) share market launch derailed by regulators over concerns about its finance model. This of course is part of a wider crackdown by China to tighten its grip on the country's fast-growing tech platforms. Ant's affiliate company Alibaba was hit with a record fine of $2.8bn over monopoly concerns, a hefty price to pay and a warning shot to other aspiring tech companies.
Closer to home, concerns around state ownership are just as prevalent. Newport Wafer Fab (NWF); the UK’s largest chip-maker, received a £13m loan from The Welsh Government in 2017 before being bought out by Chinese-owned firm Nexperia for £65m. This caused major concerns within the UK Government. Boris Johnson told Westminster's Liaison Committee: "We have to judge whether the stuff that they are making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China, whether there are real security implications” which raises the question around what defines “Critical National Infrastructure”.
Tramshed Tech sits at the heart of the tech ecosystem in Wales as well as the wider landscape through our memberships and partnerships with The UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG), Guinness Enterprise Centre and Cyber Innovation Hub, to name a few. We house small pre-revenue start-ups, larger scale-ups on investment journeys, alongside sector support organisations like FinTech Wales, Innovate UK, Tech Nation and Pioneer.
Unsurprisingly, the UK Government’s Kalifa Review of UK Fintech, named Cardiff as one of the top ten UK clusters alongside London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast. During this panel, Co-Founder Mark John discussed the five-point plan in the Kalifa report:
• Policy and Regulation – dynamic leadership that protects consumers yet nurtures fintech activity and encourages competition
• Skills – ensuring fintech has a sufficient supply of domestic and international talent and the means to train and upskill our current and future workforce
• Investment – completing the funding ladder from start-ups right through to IPO
• International – a targeted approach to exports and inward investment
• National connectivity – leveraging the output of fintechs across the UK and facilitating connectivity amongst them