Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainty in the UK. A number of British companies have already announced that they plan to move some of their operations overseas, while London’s reputation as Europe’s leading technology hub hangs in the balance.
But Amazon, which claims to have invested £4.6 billion in the UK economy since 2010, remains bullish on the UK’s future.
The ecommerce giant is planning to hire an additional 1,000 people in the region by the end of 2016, bringing Amazon’s total UK workforce up to 15,500. Amazon also plans to push ahead with plans to open a series of data centres in the UK by early 2017.
Amazon UK country manager Doug Gurr highlighted that the UK is a key region for Amazon’s R&D activities, with 1,000 R&D workers across offices in London, Cambridge, and Edinburgh. “Amazon has Silicon Valley jobs in the UK,” he said at the AWS Summit in London on Thursday.
Gurr added that the UK is home to some of the most talented engineers in the world. The R&D centres develop features for some of Amazon’s best-known products and services, including Amazon Prime, Alexa, and Fire TV.
In addition to the R&D centres, Amazon is also building a new UK headquarters in Shoreditch, with enough room for up to 5,000 workers. Prior to the EU referendum we reported that the HQ could be put on hold if the UK left the EU. The Amazon executives speaking in London on Thursday made no, or very little, reference to the new property development.
Gavin Jackson, the UK head of Amazon Web Services, the company’s colossal cloud computing division, said Brexit will have zero impact on AWS data centres in the UK. “It doesn’t change the plans at all,” he said.
Amazon announced the UK data centres in 2015, saying they would complement the company’s existing facilities in Frankfurt and Dublin. The UK data centres will allow UK businesses to store and process their data onshore in the wake of the Safe Harbour ruling last year, which raised concerns over cross border data transfer.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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