If there was a time for the UK government to launch a strategy to back plastic electronic, three years ago was the time to do it. It seemed a riskier proposition then but it was also the time when Plastic Logic was nearing the end of its search for a location for its first flexible-display fab. Shortly before the company alighted on Dresden in early January, courtesy of a bunch of sweeteners from Silicon Saxony, plastic electronics fan and investor Hermann Hauser (pictured left) delivered to an audience of technology businesspeople in Cambridge his less than stellar opinion of UK regional development authorities (RDAs).
Wales had been a serious contender as a home for the fab, making it the final five among locations in Europe and Asia, but Hauser declared the UK RDAs as being "less than responsive". It was not just about subsidies but the burden of obtaining planning permission. "We are just not thinking strategically," said Hauser at the High Value Manufacturing conference in late 2006.
But at least part of the message sank in. "I feel that the government needs to have a lot more courage to support sectors," Hauser added later in a panel session.