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Top tech stats: UK FinTech, Brexit, cybersecurity and more

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Welcome to your round up of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week we look at the global FinTech landscape, including the UK’s outlook after Brexit and international FinTech rankings. We also look at cybersecurity, ransomware, and chatbots.

UK FinTech dips as China rises

European tech investment bank GP Bullhound released its annual FinTech rankings this week, looking at FinTech firms valued at one-billion US dollars or more. The figures showed UK FinTech dipping slightly since 2016, with last month’s near collapse of London-based e-commerce firm Ve Interactive pushing the number of billion-dollar FinTech firms in Britain from five to four. Britain’s four firms ended 2016 with a combined value of $18.5bn (£14.43bn), the report showed, leaving the UK in a comfortable third place.

UK tech industry airs concerns as official Brexit talks begin in Brussels

China, meanwhile, confirmed its position as the fastest growing FinTech market, with its 13 billion-dollar firms ending the year with a combined value of $112.3bn (£87.58b) – more than double that of second-placed United States, which stands at $52.6bn (£14.02bn).

UK FinTech confident after Brexit

In other FinTech news, a report this week from London-based FinTech accelerator Level39 showed a vote of confidence in Britain, despite lingering anxiety over the country’s exit from the European Union.

Some 90% of the UK FinTech firms in the group were confident in London’s ability to produce a “critical mass of globally successful startups”, ­whilst “access to investment” and “shortage of talent” were named as the biggest challenges facing London startups (chosen by 25% and 23% of members respectively).

Meanwhile, cybersecurity and data science were named as the specialisms requiring the most urgent investment, named by 30% and 28% of Level39’s members respectively.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity was a common topic of discussion this week, with a government report showing that almost 50% of UK businesses have identified a cybersecurity breach or attack in the past year, with each breach costing the victim business an average of £1,570. A large cybersecurity breach can cost up to an average of £19,600, the report showed.

Meanwhile, separate research this week from cloud-developer Acronis found that the vast majority of UK adults are ignorant of the danger posed by the computer virus ransomware, which locks a computer’s files and demands payment from the victim. Some 77% of British adults do not know what ransomware is, with almost half (47%) of respondents saying they felt vulnerable from cyber-attacks via Internet of Things devices.

Chatbots and Meerkats

In good news for the AI sector this week, new research from chatbot builder ubisend showed that more than a third of Brits want to see more companies using chatbots as part of their customer service strategies, with some 32% saying they would consider using a chatbot before engaging with a human.

The research did show, however, that 23% of customers still see chatbots as “gimmicky”, 38% of whom were aged over 60.

One in five UK customers would consider buying products directly from a chatbot, and they would be willing to spend an average of £314.74

Respondents were also asked to choose which television brand they would most like to see translated into a chatbot, with ‘Meerkats’ – used to advertise insurance comparison website Compare the Market.com – coming out on top.

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