Tech Industry

What Brexit? Facebook to increase UK presence by 50 percent

The Silicon Valley company is set to expand its British engineering team and open a new London HQ in 2017.

Facebook hosted a Brexit debate with then UK Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year.
BuzzFeed News/Facebook/Getty Images

Facebook isn't batting an eyelid over Brexit -- it still sees the UK as a great place to invest.

The Silicon Valley-based social network announced on Monday that it was expanding its UK-based operations by 50 percent next year, as well as opening a new, bigger London headquarters.

Facebook will boost its UK headcount to 1,500, said the company's vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn, speaking at the CBI business conference in London. The UK is Facebook's biggest engineering base outside of the US, building products such as Workplace, and the new roles will make London an even larger engineering hub for the company.

"Facebook's decision to expand in London is further evidence that London's strength as a tech hub keeps on growing," said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, reacting to the news in a statement.

Following the UK's decision to leave the European Union in May there was widespread concern that the country would become a less attractive place for foreign companies to do business. But Facebook has not been dissuaded from investing in the UK following the Brexit vote, and it's not alone.

Google also views London as an important hub and said earlier this month that it would be investing in thousands of new engineering roles in the UK. Likewise, Amazon said in June that by the end of 2016 it expects to have created 3,500 new jobs in the UK across multiple departments.

The country also presents another opportunity to Facebook in the form of small businesses that have a presence on the social network. More than 300 million people from around the world are connected to a small business in the UK and almost 30 million people on Facebook in the UK are connected to at least one UK business, according to the social network.

Helping small businesses grow these numbers and connect with new customers creates opportunities for Facebook to boost its advertising revenue from within the UK too.

"The UK remains one of the best places to be a tech company and is an important part of Facebook's story," Mendelsohn said.