Today’s hyper-connected world is often taken for granted and most people rarely think about what makes all the technology around us work. This may seem paradoxical given the accelerating growth of the ICT industry and global focus on digitalisation.
When it comes to using digital technologies to foster sustainable growth, productivity and social development, Sweden’s performance is second to none. Sweden has made a strong commitment to apply new technologies such as AI and IoT to solve larger societal challenges, while retaining values such as openness, collaboration, integrity and ethics. Swedish SME’s are also in the forefront when it comes to e-commerce and building sales over the internet.
The contribution of the ICT industry to Sweden’s economy, as a share of GDP, is among the highest in the world. In fact, only Ireland generates a higher share of value add around computer services.
More than quarter of a million people in Sweden are directly employed by ICT companies – but there are many more ICT professionals when counting all those engaged in digitalising other industries. According to Statistics Sweden, the digital sector accounts for 5.8 per cent of Sweden’s GDP and more than a quarter of a million people work directly with ICT companies, this jumps considerably if you add other sectors. In Stockholm, one in ten people wok in the digital tech sector, and across the country numbers continues to grow year on year, with increasing demand for international talent to support local expertise.
As a result, leading tech companies have established their business in Sweden to access the European market, set up R&D or centres of excellence, put new technologies to the test and acquire or partner with Swedish innovators. Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Fujitsu, Google, HCL, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Nvidia, Samsung and Tata are just a few global players who have invested heavily in Sweden.
A GLOBAL TECH AND STARTUP HUB
Stockholm has one of the fastest-growing tech startup scenes in the world, not only producing startups but also breeding unicorns. This notable achievement testifies to the strength of the market which stands out for its entrepreneurial spirit and vibrant culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Companies such as Skype, Spotify, Klarna, King, Mojang, iZettle, Kry, Trustly, Truecaller, Yubico and others have all sprung up from Stockholm’s startup and scaleup scene.
Together, they provide a wealth of inspiration, experience and leadership for a large ecosystem of rising stars who are getting ready to take on the world. Moreover, these successful tech leaders along with VCs are now reinvesting.
Five key strengths of Sweden’s Digital Technologies ecosystem:
- More than 30 test beds focusing on artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), 5G/6G, gamification, IT security, factory connectivity, cloud computing, mobility tech, advanced robotics and remote learning
- Resilient, low-carbon digital infrastructure and among the highest levels of network and technology readiness in the world
- Booming ICT sector employing 6.1 per cent of the population (twice the EU average) and renowned startup scene producing global tech brands
- World class skills in automation, AI, machine learning, e-commerce, AR/VR, wearable tech, user experience, cybersecurity, cloud delivery, data centres and more
- Four times as many connected devices per person than anywhere else in the world
LEADING THE WAY IN GREEN COMPUTING
In the drive toward sustainable computing, there is a compelling argument for setting up operations in Sweden. The country’s energy mix is 98 per cent carbon-free and has the EU’s highest share of renewables (54.6 per cent). Wind power production reached 28 TWh in 2020, making Sweden the largest wind power producer in the Nordics.
While some countries are experimenting with the idea of reusing waste heat, Sweden already has more than 30 data centres that feed excess heat back into the district heating system – and get paid for it. This development means that tens of thousands of homes are being heated with waste heat from data centres.
SPRINGBOARD FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
Swedish hardware and software providers, digital innovators and savvy startups are coming together at science parks, research institutes and test beds to push the frontiers of progress in a wide range of industries. These include manufacturing, transport and e-mobility, retail, banking and financial services to mention just a few.
In the latter example, several collaborations are taking place between startups, incumbents, financial consortia and the Central Bank to advance knowledge around e-currencies, payments, cybersecurity and distributed ledger transactions. Sweden ranks third in Europe (after the UK and Germany) for total fintech investments and has a thriving cluster of 400 startups in this segment.
Another booming industry is gaming which currently employs around 10,000 people and has spurred interest from traditional companies now looking to ‘gamify’ their solutions and adopt new, immersive technologies for education, collaboration, content visualisation and other purposes.
Sweden is also a great place for applied AI development thanks to its vibrant co-innovation scene, advanced research, strong talent base, regulatory progress in the field of AI and reliable digital infrastructure. Industry, academia and the public sector have committed to large joint investments in AI research and commercialisation – creating a springboard for Swedish companies who are now well ahead of the European average when it comes to AI maturity.
Another unique feature of Sweden’s digital technology landscape is that public data is openly shared and easily accessible to businesses large and small.
SETTING THE SCENE FOR GROWTH
Business Sweden supports the continued expansion of Sweden’s tech sector by focusing on sustainable partnerships between multinationals, startups, research institutes, public agencies and other stakeholders across the entire digital technology spectrum.
Our mission is to attract international companies to invest in Sweden, help them establish or expand, and access Sweden’s world class technology skills. We also help Swedish companies capture international business opportunities and grow their sales in global markets and connect innovative Swedish startups with international hotspots.
We do this through two promotional programmes that are designed to help Swedish industry maintain its leadership in innovation, world-class technology and digital transformation, while at the same time offering optimal conditions for international companies who want to sharpen their value proposition and reach new markets.
Digital Infrastructure & Cloud: This programme focuses on the partnerships required to build the infrastructure of tomorrow, highlighting Sweden’s competitive strengths in the areas of connectivity (5G/6G), Internet of Things, sensors, datacenters, cloud and edge computing. As an integral part of all layers of the technology stack, cybersecurity will play a major role in creating the trust and credibility required by users, customers and regulators.
Advanced Digital (Enabling) Technologies: Focuses on the technologies and solutions that are critical in the ongoing transformation of industries and society at large, including but not limited to AI, advanced analytics, fintech, AR/VR/XR, gamification and visualisation.
Are you a foreign investor looking to establish or expand your business in Sweden’s Digital Technologies ecosystem? Our team can provide all the assistance and insights you need.
If you are a Swedish provider looking to expand your business abroad, don’t hesitate to contact us for strategic advice and hands-on support.