Quantum Tech

UK tech success in APAC: South Korea eyes UK quantum collaboration

10th July 2024
Sheryl Miles

The innovative quantum technologies showcased by five British companies at Quantum Korea 2024 in late June have sparked significant interest, leading to more than 35 meetings with Korean corporations and R&D institutes to discuss future collaboration.

The meetings were secured as part of the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme and each of the companies is now preparing to continue commercial talks with the organisations it met at the event, a global showcase for innovation in quantum computing.

The British companies are:

  • Cavero Quantum – a cybersecurity spin-out from Leeds University offering a quantum-powered cloud communications platform with a scalable web service application programming interface (API) and security protection
  • Element Six – a global pioneer in the design, development, and production of synthetic diamond and tungsten carbide advanced material solutions for sectors including aerospace, mining, semiconductors, and photonics
  • Oxford Instruments – a provider of high technology products and services to the world's leading industrial companies and scientific research communities
  • Quantum Software Lab – a cutting-edge research facility for quantum software development and end-user applications hosted by University of Edinburgh with the UK National Quantum Computing Centre
  • Wave Photonics – a Cambridge company focused on design for integrated photonics, a technology that uses scalable and high-volume semiconductor fabrication processes to make chips that use light.

All five companies are participating in the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, which provides free and subsidised support to technology companies aspiring to enter one or more of 11 markets: South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

James Lee, CEO of Wave Photonics, said: “The meetings secured for us at Quantum Korea enabled us to learn about the Korean quantum ecosystem in a way that just isn’t possible remotely. What’s most exciting is the prospect that the country’s phenomenal semiconductor and telecoms capability can be harnessed for integrated photonics development, facilitating the mass manufacture of quantum technologies which exploit light – which is nearly all of them.”

Craig Skeldon, Head of Business and Operations at Quantum Software Lab, added: “Our attendance at Quantum Korea provided us with an excellent opportunity to learn more about recent scientific advancements and technology development, to make new connections, and to identify meaningful ways of establishing international cooperation.”

The UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme is delivered on behalf of the government by international business development consultancy Intralink.

According to specialists at Intralink delivering the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, the Korean government has recently earmarked £14 billion for R&D projects spanning artificial intelligence, bioengineering, and quantum computing. This investment demonstrates that the market for these technologies will grow in the years ahead, spurring Korean corporations to secure further technology collaborations and expertise exchanges with overseas companies, including those from the UK.

This success for UK tech at Quantum Korea follows SEMICON Korea in February this year, during which seven UK companies with technologies in the semiconductor sector embarked on discussions with potential customers and partners.

And, in June, 10 UK tech scaleups with offerings in the net zero building field presented their technologies to one of Japan’s largest construction corporations, Shimizu, in another event organised by the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme.  As a result, four of the participating companies are now embarking on more detailed discussions with Shimizu. 

Jeremy Shaw, who heads the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme, said: “The APAC region represents a huge opportunity for innovative UK tech companies as many of the countries are playing catch-up in key technology areas and this is driving their need for partnerships and collaboration.

“The success achieved by the companies we’re supporting shows what’s possible and we encourage other UK tech companies with relevant technologies to sign up for the Programme so we can support their first steps into APAC.”

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