The Southwest of England

REGIONAL PROFILE

According to latest figures, the regional economy was worth £97.8 billion in 2008 - 7.8% of the total UK economy. This was a nominal increase of 3.7% on the 2007 value. GVA per head was £18,782 in the same year. The Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North Somerset (GWNS) area continued to contribute the majority of regional output - 53% in total.

The South West of England builds on the UK's strengths as a place to do business – and adds some more of its own. The result is one of the best business environments in Europe.

  • A strong economy - the UK has had one of the highest GDP growth rates in Europe, well above the European and Eurozone averages. (Source: OECD).
  • One of the most flexible labour markets in the world - the World Bank ranks the UK as the second best place in Europe to employ workers, just behind Denmark. (Source: World Bank).
  • World leader in innovation - the UK is one of the best places in the world for innovative companies, second only to the USA for the quality of its research base.
  • High quality of living - UK residents enjoy a high standard of living, education and recreation. The South West of England is ranked as one of the best places in Europe to live and work. (Source: Financial Times).
  • Springboard to Europe - The UK is the number one gateway to Europe, giving access to the 27 member states of the EU - the world's largest single market.
  • Magnet for foreign investors - In 2006, the UK attracted and retained more US dollars of investment than anywhere else in Europe, and the second highest in the world. The South West is home to 1,500 overseas businesses.

A heritage as long as the electronics industry itself provides a world-beating cluster of semiconductor and wireless technology companies.

Leading edge chip designers are attracted to the region because of the presence of global companies such Hewlett Packard, ST Microelectronics, Motorola and Broadcom alongside a vibrant cluster of innovating new companies.

Innovation

New companies include Icera which is developing the latest flexible high speed mobile data modems for mobile phones and XMOS Semiconductor which is developing low cost multi-core processors for the consumer market.

PicoChip in Bath designs the multi-core chips that sit in the latest femtocells rolling out around the world. ProVision Communications has developed technology to deliver quality high definition TV wirelessly around the home for the first time.

Phyworks, Nanotech Semiconductor and Dialog Semiconductor are all pushing back the boundaries of analogue and mixed signal design in telecommunications, each shipping millions of chips.

IPWireless is developing highly efficient mobile data and TV systems for customers around the world.

Audium Semiconductor is pushing back the boundaries of wireless audio systems

Femtocell maker Ubiquisys is leading the way in the commercialisation of an exciting global market.

MMIC Solutions is dramatically reducing the size and cost of millimetre wave security scanners now being used in airports.

Gnodal is dramatically reducing the power consumption of datacentres.

Global giants such as Nokia, Tomkins, Huawei and Dolby have all invested in the technical expertise of the region, as have UK chip makers Wolfson Microelectronics and Nujira.

Toshiba and Panasonic have both set up research centres looking at future generations of communications and consumer technologies.

The 3C Research Center, has created a unique multimillion pound research project bringing together university expertise and industrial partners such as Turner Broadcasting, HP, STMicroelectronics, QinetiQ, Granada, Matrix Data and Toshiba.

In all, over 66,000 people are part of the electronics cluster in the South West of England, with hundreds of researchers, silicon designers, hardware, software, test and verification engineers all contributing to the success of the region as the heart of silicon technology in Europe. With a tremendous quality of life, strong communications links to the rest of the UK, Europe and the US, this technology cluster continues to attract companies and spin out new companies to take on the global electronics market.

Companies in the region:

Audium Semiconductor
Developing ultra-low power amplifier chips for wireless systems
www.audiumsemi.com

Broadcom
Bristol Design centre for xDSL business group, system chip micro architecture, digital and analogue blocks.
www.broadcom.com

Dialog Semiconductor (UK)
Design and market ASICs and standard audio products mainly for the mobile communications industry. Specialise in mixed signal ASICs.
www.diasemi.com

Eltek Semiconductors
Chip supplier and stockist of semiconductor die for hybrid industry. Component custom assembly and test facilities.
www.eltek-semi.com

Fairchild Semiconductor
European offices of leading global supplier of high performance power products.
www.fairchildsemi.com

Gnodal
Developing new architectures and devices to dramatically reduce the power consumption of data centres
www.gnodal.com

Icera
Supply the world’s first wireless soft modems for cellular devices.
www.icerasemi.com

Intel Corporation (UK)
Design, sales and product support for micro-processors and satellite TV decoders, European technical support.
www.intel.com

IPWireless
Designing complete systems and chips for highly efficient mobile data and TV
www.ipwireless.com

Micro Circuit Engineering
Integrated circuit design and manufacture. Specialise in digital and mixed ASICs and multi-chip module technology.
www.mce-asic.co.uk

MMIC Solutions
Compact, cost effective millimetre wave technology for security and telecoms applications
www.mmicsolutions.com

National Semiconductor
High performance analogue devices and subsystems.
www.national.com

Oxford Plasma Technology
Ion beam and plasma processing equipment, primarily for semiconductor R&D.
www.oxinst.com

Phyworks
Designs and sells high-performance analogue and digital integrated circuits (ICs) for optical networking.
www.phyworks-ic.com

picoChip
Provides solutions for femtocells and all global standards of UMTS 3G base stations, including RF and baseband processing.
www.picochip.com

ProVision Communications
Commercialising leading video compression and wireless transmission algorithms developed at the University of Bristol for HDTV
www.provision-comms.com

Qwondo
Developing a high definition TV media centre for the consumer market
www.Qwondo.co.uk

STMicroelectronics
The firm's largest digital VLSI design centre, specialise in high performance graphic and video accelerators.
www.st.com

Westcode Semiconductors
R&D and manufacture of silicon power products.
www.westcode.com

Xfab U
Site of X-FAB; 150mm and 200mm CMOS advanced mixed-signal custom wafer foundry.
www.xfab.com

XMOS Semiconductor
Designing multicore processors for the consumer market that are highly configurable in software
www.xmos.com

The South West offers:

• Networking facilities to bring together industry and academia
• Easy access to all key UK and European business centers
• Strategic partnering with the region’s key technology companies
• Grants and other financial assistance including access to venture capital
• Support for marketing and export initiatives
• Skilled help on issues such as Intellectual Property
• Quality property options on flexible terms
• A superb quality of life - acting as a magnet for skilled people
• Established clusters in key industry sectors
• Access to a population of 26 million within 2 hours drive of the region
• A skilled, flexible, motivated and loyal labor pool
• Access to the UK’s leading research universities
• One of the fastest growing regions in the UK