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Interview: Sweden affected by third industrial revolution: expert

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson (Xinhua)

14:19, August 12, 2012

STOCKHOLM, Aug.11 (Xinhua) -- Sweden has been affected by the third industrial revolution in most areas, said Klas Eklund, the Nordic SEB Bank chief economist to Xinhua recently in a written interview.

The third industrial revolution refers to breakthroughs of new information and communication technologies such as computerization, miniaturization, the internet and all the new ways information is processed.

"Sweden is strong in the information and communication sector itself, not least through Ericsson and all its spin-offs. But information technology or ICT is generic, meaning it is present in most industries," said Eklund.

He also gave the example of Volvo, recently bought by China's Geely. "Volvo uses a lot of computer power both in production and in the cars themselves," he said.

Eklund pointed out that the traditional Swedish export companies have refined their production processes through ICT.

Sweden has also been successful in a number of new service industries like electronic games and via new companies like Spotify, an internet music and multi-media company, and Skype, which was the first in the world to function with internet conference.

"Sweden is pretty well-prepared for the third industrial revolution. The work force is well educated, disciplined and creative at the same time," said Eklund.

But Sweden also faces great challenges in the new industrial revolution wave.

Eklund noted that Sweden is a small country and "we don't produce enough engineers. Also, recently we've seen some alarming indications that the education system is slipping when it comes to quality".

Also, like in many Western countries, there is a risk that the low-educated laborers are at a disadvantage, so that wage inequality widens and unemployment increases, Eklund said.

"So we need to improve education and make the labor market more flexible," Eklund stressed, adding that Sweden has recently reformed the education system so that more competition will be introduced into schools.

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