BCG Henderson Institute

Every country is vying to get a head start in the race to the world’s quantum future. A year ago, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia teamed up to develop military applications of digital technologies, especially quantum computing technologies. That followed the passage in 2019 of the National Quantum Initiative Act by the U.S. Congress, which laid out the country’s plans to rapidly create quantum computing capabilities.

Earlier, Europe launched a $1 billion quantum computing research project, Quantum Flagship, in 2016, and its member states have started building a quantum communications infrastructure that will be operational by 2027. In like vein, China’s 14th Five Year Plan (2021-2025) prioritizes the development of quantum computing and communications by 2030. In all, between 2019 and 2021 China invested as much as $11 billion, Europe had spent $5 billion, the U.S. $3 billion, and the U.K. around $1.8 billion between to become tomorrow’s quantum superpowers.

As the scientific development of quantum technologies gathers momentum, creating quantum computers has turned into a priority for nations that wish to gain the next competitive advantage in the Digital Age. They’re seeking this edge for two very different reasons. On the one hand, quantum technologies will likely transform almost every industry, from automotive and aerospace to finance and pharmaceuticals. These systems could create fresh value of between $450 billion and $850 billion over the next 15 to 30 years, according to recent BCG estimates.

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