Amazon to open Manchester office, add 1,000 R&D jobs in the UK

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is sizing up locations for its second US headquarters. Among the criteria: convenient access to mass transit and an international airport, a highly educated labor pool, a strong university system and a diverse population.

Amazon is set to open a new office in Manchester and will hire more than 1,000 new staffers to work on research and development in the U.K.

The U.S. tech giant said Thursday it would hire additional roles in Manchester, Edinburgh and Cambridge as part of its boosted investment in Britain.

Its new Manchester base alone will lead to the creation of 600 jobs, the firm said, indicating a serious investment in England’s North. It will also take on more than 250 high-skilled staffers in its Edinburgh development center and 180 in its Cambridge facility.

“With the U.K. taking a leading role in our global innovation, we are delighted to announce plans to create capacity for over 1,000 new highly-skilled roles across the country,” Amazon’s U.K. Country Manager Doug Gurr said in an official statement Thursday.

“These are Silicon Valley jobs in Britain, and further cement our long-term commitment to the U.K.”

The U.K. is a major international market for the e-commerce firm, which made pre-tax profits of £72.4 million in the country last year, according to a filing with U.K. business registrar Companies House, a huge hike from the £24.3 million it made in 2016.

That disclosure led to criticisms, however, due to the discovery that the firm paid just £4.6 million in corporation tax in 2017, far below the £7.4 million it paid out in the previous year. Amazon argues that this is because the firm grants full-time employees share awards, which it says reduces its tax liability. Britain’s Finance Minister Philip Hammond has floated the idea of a tax on digital platforms to level the playing field for traditional retailers.

The news comes after a report earlier this year that said the corporation was mulling the creation of its own insurance price comparison website in the U.K., denoting both a further push into the financial services and a challenge to the competitive domestic price comparison market.

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