Technology and different ways of working are transforming British industry in the biggest shake-up since the Industrial Revolution, according to a new study.
The UK is set to be a pioneer in video games, superfoods and robotics, and five "supercities" - Brighton, Leeds, Liverpool, London and Newcastle - will emerge as knowledge industries, according to research commissioned by HSBC.
Social media and social networking technology, as well as industry and skills created during the recession, will become tools of the trade for many businesses in the future, the HSBC Future of Business report predicts.
The Britain that is mapped by HSBC's researchers forecasts factories, power stations and livestock supplanted by centres for gaming, biotech, windfarms and robotics.
As London's economic output diminishes, the research also predicts the north/south divide will be turned on its head. Competition and high living costs in the south is encouraging entrepreneurs to move north. Also, job creation by self-employed people is higher in the north, with northerners employing 3.5 million people on average, compared with 2.6 million in the south.
"[Our panel] predicted the rise of supercities and regions Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Brighton over the next 20 years," said Martin Raymond from the Future Laboratory, one of the report's authors.
The recession is accelerating change, according to the authors.
Co-author and futurologist Ian Pearson said: "In the past, business was cyclical, rhythmic and geographically specific. Now it is increasingly rootless, borderless and weightless. It is defined as much by our ability to see opportunity in ideas, knowledge and intellectual resources, as it is to profit from trading in real products and tangible assets."
This is encouraging businesses to adopt more flexible ways of working to support a mobile, dispersed workforce, says the report.
The findings are based on interviews with 500 entrepreneurs and company directors.
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