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Google’s US$1.25 billion investment for the UK helps tech sector shake off its post-Brexit anxiety

The tech firm’s plans prove that the UK tech sector is still holding strong

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 2:24pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 November, 2016, 2:28pm

Google’s plans to open a new headquarters in London and create 3,000 new jobs in the U.K. by 2020 has been well received by the country’s tech sector and signals a sign of confidence, according to industry insiders.

The plans, revealed by Chief Exec Sundar Pichai to the BBC on Monday, equated to around a £1 billion (US$1.25 billion) investment. Dennis Jones, CEO at mobile payments firm Judopay, said it was no surprise that Google is making such a large investment.

“It has fingers in many pies, with consumers now using Google Chromebooks to access Google Maps to find directions to a location they researched on Google Search. It’s not long until they may use a Google self-driving car to get to their destination,” he told CNBC via email.

“At a time when some businesses are hesitant to invest, we – and Google – know that the path to growth is investing in the technology and talent of tomorrow.”

The news, which comes almost five months after the U.K. referendum on its membership of the European Union, can be seen as an example of the U.K. tech sector’s resilience.

“While Brexit and Trump’s election may have caused some trepidation to businesses and consumers this year, the truth is that technology continues to surmount international borders and bring people closer than ever before,” Gary Reid, managing director of EMEA and APAC at digital marketing company Forward3D, told CNBC via email.

“That Google, possibly the most innovative company in the world, has overcome initial doubts about a post-Brexit investment, should be welcome reassurance to the industry.”

The move by Google could prove to be a shot in the arm for the tech sector, but the industry’s growth needs to be supported, says Victoria Morrison, director at digital agency TH_NK.

“Those of us working in the digital sector know how many important technologies are being developed, in London and around the world, which will have huge impact on people’s lives in the next few years,” she told CNBC in an email.

“This progress must be properly supported, by both public and private sectors. The government needs to ensure that we continue to have access to the brightest talent and infrastructure to make these technologies a success.”

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