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Home / Latest News / How to use the feelgood factor about the UK economy

How to use the feelgood factor about the UK economy

The outlook for the UK economy is viewed more positively internationally than it is domestically, according to Sir Howard Stringer, the former chairman of Japanese electronics giant Sony.

The Cardiff-born industry veteran said Wales and regions across the UK are riding high on a feel good factor which will, in time, encourage inward investment.

The 71-year-old was speaking ahead of being presented with an honorary degree from Swansea University on Monday from its College of Arts and Humanities.

He said: “There are so many Europeans migrating to the UK because Europe has a better sense of the UK’s destiny than the Brits.

“Optimism fuels customer behaviour. The mood is brighter. Wales is a small country, but size is not a handicap in the digital era. All the start-ups started small, they didn’t start big.”

Mr Stringer said the workforce Sony employs at its factory making camcorders in Pencoed are steadfastly entrepreneurial.

He added: “When they closed the big factory at Bridgend it was involved in old fashioned manufacturing.

“It was a very gloomy day. I was made CEO on the day after that. I came over here and was ripped apart by the press.”

Sir Howard said the key to success at Pencoed was to persuade Sony chiefs in Tokyo of the abilities of the workforce and the site.

He said: “We said let’s look after our own destiny. They now produce professional camcorders and broadcast cameras. What they have done on a small scale is find their own salvation.

“They are constantly looking to take jobs back from Asia and reintroduce them to Europe and this comes via Wales.”

Sir Howard ran Sony for seven years until stepping down in April last year.

He stayed on as chairman of Sony Corporation until June and finally retired as chairman of the board of Sony last month.

The former Sony chief executive praised the number of people making the move into starting their own business and added: “I think there’s a lot of start-ups in the UK, far more than I remember.

“There isn’t the same degree of venture capital that there is in America but it is growing. We are seeing more and more evidence of the pockets of entrepreneurial activity.”

Sir Howard is on the board of communications giant Talk Talk and said: “The advantage of America is the amount of risk-taking happening in Silicon Valley.

“People believe they can survive and so they take risks. I think that is happening here more and more.”

He also welcomed the development of a Science and Innovation campus at Swansea University

and said: “We are creating meaningful solutions that can generate technical input and create business in places people never thought they could.

“Success breeds success.”

Another Welshman also flying the flag for his country is Andrew House who was appointed as president and group chief executive officer of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc (SCEI) in September 2011.

Mr House is originally from Wales and helped launch the original PlayStation, as well as the PlayStation2 and PlayStationPortable in North America.

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