Samsung has announced that it will set up its new European headquarters in Berlin. Snubbing London because the British capital is ‘not a fun place to live unless you are rich’, Samsung Next Europe managing director Felix Peterson eventually settled on the German capital for the firm’s European HQ. “In Berlin, you can do stuff without much money. You can bike around or sit in the park,” he said. (Presumably he has not heard of Borris bikes or Hyde Park.)
In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum many industry analysts predicted that Berlin would rise to the top of Europe’s technology sector, as firms flood out of the UK. But the reality has been someway off that. In fact, the UK continues to dominant the European technology market, despite Brexit being triggered. Defying post-Brexit predictions, Britain remains the European hotspot for technology funding. In fact, the UK has received twice as much investment in technology firms than any other European neighbour since the referendum.
In total, some £2.4 billion worth of venture capital funding has been pushed into Britain’s technology companies since the vote, according to research from London & Partners, a branch of the London Mayor’s office. This was more than double the investment made in Germany and three times the amount poured into France. London in particular is securely established as the tech-centre of Europe, with 554 deals totalling £1.8 billion being made in the last 12 months. In comparison, Berlin has tied up £775 million worth of deals and Paris has secured £557 million in venture investment.
Samsung’s main rival Apple is one such company not ready to give up on the UK just yet. While the US tech giant’s main European hub will remain in Ireland, the iPad maker is pumping £9 billion into a massive project to rejuvenate the Battersea Power Station into a new Apple HQ.
Due to be opened in 2021, the move will see 1,400 Apple staff relocate to London. Apple said it was looking forward to the 2021 opening of ‘our new London campus’ as staff relocate to ‘this magnificent new development at one of the city’s best-known landmarks’. It added: “This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighbourhood rich with history.”
So, will we see more companies follow Samsung’s lead and snub London for Berlin? Maybe a few, but London still has pulling power for now.