If you’re involved in the technology business, as a founder, entrepreneur or service provider, you’ll already be aware of the rapid growth of science and technology hubs in Asia, particularly in Japan, China and Korea. In the same way that Silicon Valley has propelled the global domination of US technology over the past 30 years (Adobe, eBay, Google, PayPal) the household names of the future will undoubtedly be Asian.

A quick scan of the world’s Top 50 Science and Technology Clusters (supplied by Visual Capitalist – see below), ‘ranked by their combined share of international patent applications and scientific publications’ shows how quickly the world map has changed in just the past 5 years (past 5 years? weren’t we in Covid lockdown for 3 of them?). The top 5 are now (1) Tokyo-Yokohama (2) Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Guangzhou, and (3) Seoul (4) Beijing and (5) Shanghai-Suzhou, with Silicon Valley now sixth.

Whilst I haven’t travelled to Tokyo or Seoul recently, I’ve visited the other three in just the past 3 months. China has undoubtedly seen the opportunity to dominate the global innovation and technology scene and, for the first time, has ‘topped the list of countries with the highest number of clusters among the top 100, having 24 total’. It’s hard to ignore this. As you travel around southern China on trams, buses and MTRs and casually listen in on conversations between ordinary people going about their daily lives, you can’t help but hear the phrase “AI” interspersed with unintelligible chatter (in cantonese). It seems that they are all paying attention. We should too.

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