Why overseas companies are investing in the UK and what that means for the IT industry

Located on the western end of Europe, perched on an island on the Atlantic Ocean, the United Kingdom (UK) comprised of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, is currently being eyed by hundreds of overseas companies looking to set up shop, grow and penetrate into new markets.

Even among the European Union (EU), the UK holds a distinct and important position. For obvious reasons it is the most “Western” country in the EU whose main language is the same as the defacto international business language (English). So why are so many corporations, enterprises and even start-ups looking at merry old England. The reasons, it seems, are plenty.

Logistically speaking, the UK offers companies with a convenient and stable distribution hub throughout Europe. Not only for human resources, but also for trade and commerce throughout Europe. It serves as the link between Europe and North America. And, it is prime territory for businesses looking to plant roots in Europe. The simple truth is that more international companies set up in the UK than anywhere else in Europe. The UK is fertile ground for companies looking to develop new products, seeking new suppliers, looking for new customers and to support existing ones from a wider pool of opportunities and resources.

Trade is made so much easier when rooted in the UK. Duties are waived when importing and exporting within the EU, which makes them the easiest country to do business with in all of Europe. But the benefits are not limited within the scope of the EU. The UK has developed and maintains free or preferential trade agreements with numerous countries outside of the EU.

Tax rules, laws and regulations have always been make or break factors for a company to locate to a particular country or location. Fortunately for everyone, the UK has structured very attractive tax rates and regulations for corporations seeking to set up shop in the UK.

With offerings like 20% corporate tax rate, indirect taxation, research & development tax credits and a patent box, the UK government is definitely dangling the right bait to attract legitimate overseas companies to British shores. Not to mention receiving significant advice and support from the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).


People. The UK has a lot of them and highly skilled ones too. With the second largest labour force in the whole of the EU, with one of the highest skill sets, the UK has the human resources to fill the needs of many overseas companies. Flexible labour markets give companies the option to craft a qualified team to their needs as well as outsource their most critical business operations such as IT Support, benefitting from time zone availability.

Various programs such as those geared towards global entrepreneurs which offer financial assistance, visa and immigration incentives, and cost effective Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) procedures load the decision making process and ease the transition to the land of the Union Jack. This last reason, the IPR, along with several big infrastructure projects (energy, transport, waste, flood, science, water and telecom) that the government has already underway is attracting IT companies far and wide. These companies recognise the opportunity looming in the horizon and are ready to pounce.

Companies within the IT and tech industries are looking towards the UK and see it as a hub for software development.

The fact that the UK houses the largest mobile market in the entire continent also piques the interests of many such businesses. Cloud companies note that the UKs cloud computing market is on the rise in both public and private sectors. The same goes for the data centre sector which sees a plethora of well-educated workers with highly specialised skills in the UK market. And, much like most of the world, the UK market has a dire need for IT security. Those in the industry will find that everyone from local companies, to health and government services are looking to either overhaul or beef up their IT security.

The UK never needed programs and incentives to gain the eye of overseas companies. It has always been a “land of greener pastures”. But, when the UK took the time and energy to develop the right programs and incentives, it makes it easier to convert casual lookers to British companies.

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