Global tech firms ‘actively planning’ expansion into UK

Research findings to be presented at June's Global Expansion Summit, in London, suggest that Brexit is not damaging the UK’s attractiveness as a destination for inward investment in the tech sector.

Global tech firms ‘actively planning’ expansion into UK
Survey results released ahead of the 2017 Global Expansion Summit, which takes place in London on 18–20 June, reveal that more than 500 global technology firms are actively planning to expand into the UK.Inward investment specialist Breeze Strategy, which carried out the survey, monitors the global expansion plans of businesses around the world and gathers intelligence for clients on identifying the next wave of investors who are in the process of setting up a UK presence.The Global Expansion Summit, which will be hosted in partnership with London & Partners, will bring together 400+ C-Suite and 50+ heads of international expansion, from 700+ companies and 62 countries, to discuss international and cross-border business strategy.Fiona Murchie, Relocate Global’s managing editor, will act as a moderator and chairperson at the event, which members of the Relocate community can attend at a generous 40 per cent discount.

Research highlights

  • More than 500 first-time inward investors are planning to expand into the UK
  • Between 15 and 20 firms each month confirm they are planning their first UK operation
  • Almost 200 firms have started to plan a UK entry since June 2016’s Brexit vote

Source markets and sectors 

Not surprisingly, perhaps, more than half the firms tracked (53 per cent) are from the US. India is the second-largest source (9 per cent), followed by Australia (8 per cent), Canada (8 per cent) and France (4 per cent)Just over half the businesses are in the software sector, with significant numbers involved in data analytics and the Internet of Things, while one in six is in business services (mostly related to online retail or business-to-business services).The top sectors are:
  • Software/IT (51 per cent)
  • Business Services (16 per cent)
  • Life Sciences (8 per cent)
  • Advanced Manufacturing (8 per cent)
  • Financial Services (5 per cent)

Brexit impact

Since last June’s EU referendum, announcements by Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google have committed millions of pounds of new investment and thousands of tech jobs for London.Amazon recently announced the creation of an R&D hub in Cambridge for its drone research that will house around 500 researchers.Adam Breeze, an inward investment consultant who advises governments and businesses, will present his research at the Global Expansion Summit.Says Mr Breeze, “While the tech giants like Google and Apple get the headlines, it’s the smaller, fast-growing, globally ambitious firms which are going under the radar.“Fuelled by venture capital, these start-ups may not be household names, but they are the next big things, and they are choosing to expand into the UK.”“We track company moves in real time across the world, and there is certainly no detectable decline in the attractiveness of the UK as a business location in the last year.“There was a slight pause in the weeks following the Brexit vote, but, in the last nine months, the interest in establishing a UK operation is as high as it was at any stage in the last five years.”

UK’s attractiveness ‘still strong’

Fernando Faria, founder and MD of the Global Expansion Summit, also notes that the EU referendum has not changed expansion trends.Says Mr Faria, “These findings [by the survey] emphasise the UK’s attractiveness to business is still strong and won’t go away anytime soon.“Many companies have been reconsidering their European footprint since the EU referendum, but most realise the UK’s differentials aren’t that easy to replicate. This is especially true for American companies.”For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre