LONDON (Reuters) – Facebook opened its new office in London on Monday and said it would add another 800 jobs in the capital next year, underscoring its commitment to Britain as the country prepares for Brexit.
The investment, which makes London the largest engineering center in Facebook outside the United States, was welcomed by Finance Minister Philip Hammond, who was given a tour of the new building located on the main shopping street of Oxford Street.
"It is a sign of confidence in our country that innovative companies like Facebook invest here," he said.
Facebook announced the new investment in November of last year, shortly after Google said it was building a new center in the city that could accommodate more than 7,000 employees in total.
The twin announcements were seen as a vote of confidence in the future of London as a technology center despite the decision to leave the European Union, which has cast doubt on Britain's future trade relations.
"The booming entrepreneurial ecosystem of the United Kingdom and the international reputation for excellence in engineering make it one of the best places in the world to build a technology company," said EMEA Vice President Nicola Mendelsohn.
"And we have built our company here: this country has been a big part of history of Facebook over the past decade, and I hope to continue our work to achieve our mission to bring the world closer. "
The site will also house the first Facebook start incubator, called LDN_LAB, designed to help launch the budding British digital companies.
"The emphasis on engineering and the 800 new jobs created shows that London remains at the forefront of global innovation," London Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
"In addition, the launch of the company's incubator will play a crucial role in attracting vital talent to London and help pave the way for the next generation of successful startups."
The new jobs, which will come 10 years after the company establishes its first office in London, will bring Facebook's total British workforce to more than 2,300 by the end of 2018, he said.
The new Facebook office in the West End of the capital, designed by architect Frank Gehry, will house engineers, developers, marketing and sales teams working on products such as Workplace, its commercial product that was built in London, He said.
Report by Paul Sandle; Ros Russell edition