Cisco CEO John Chambers today said he supports prime minister David Cameron’s innovation strategy and Tech City efforts, before going on to highlight that Silicon Valley’s tech ecosystem is unique and hard to replicate.

Speaking at Cisco Live in San Francisco, Chambers told Techworld: “I think your prime minister with his innovation agenda really got our attention."

Cameron may have caught the attention of Cisco after he announced a £45 million support package for the Internet of Things in March – an area where Cisco wants to be the market leader. 

The chief of the US networking giant also applauded how the coalition government has helped to transform East London and the Olympic Park, despite the fact that it is yet to release the £50 million funding it promised for the regeneration of Old Street's Silicon Roundabout, situated at the heart of Tech City in Shoreditch. 

When asked if London was starting to compete with the Valley, Chambers said: “There’s a uniqueness here in the Valley in terms of the expertise that it draws from all over the world. That is hard to replicate. I think Tech City will do well too.”

Cisco now employs more than twice as many engineers in the UK than it does salespeople (2238 compared to 988), Chambers revealed. “If you would have told me [that would be the case]...five years ago I’d say ‘not a chance’ but we do,” he said. 

The company has also acquired a number of UK firms over the past two years, including Staines-based NDS Group, a company that develops software for the pay TV industry, and Swindon-based Ubiquisys, which makes cells that are used for mobile networking.

Meanwhile, Cisco chose to open one of its six global innovation centres in London's Tech City last year in partnership with University College London and Scottish publishing company DC Thomson. The three partners are investing £3.5 million into the IDEALondon centre in Shoreditch over the first three years, in addition to investing in individual start-ups, of which there will be around 25.

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