Samsung Next snubs expensive London for Berlin
London is many things, but reasonably priced isn’t one of them. Generally, that hasn’t been a big issue in terms of attracting big tech businesses with the likes of Apple, Snap and Slack flying against Brexit pessimism to set up new offices in London. It appears that Samsung has other ideas, and has picked Germany for its latest European office, citing the far more reasonable cost of living.
Instead of London, Samsung Next – a $150 million technology fund – will instead be setting up shop some 578 miles away in Berlin because it has become “increasingly hard for people to build companies” in the UK capital.
In an interview with The Times, Samsung Next managing director Felix Petersen said: “In Berlin, you can do stuff without much money. You can bike around or sit in the park. There are uncommercialised zones. You can experiment and play around with technology in a more relaxed environment.
“In London, the cost of living, the cost of getting around and the infrastructure mean it’s not a fun place to live unless you are really rich, especially for young people.”
It’s hard to argue that cost of living is an issue in London – especially compared to Berlin. Numbeo’s estimates suggest that it’s around 60% cheaper to rent in Berlin, and around 60-70% cheaper to buy – all from an average salary that’s just 20% lower.
The comments seem to have touched a nerve with the Mayor of London’s office, with a spokesperson saying: “Some of the world’s biggest companies are proud to call London their home and have made a commitment to the city.
“In the past year alone, Apple, Google and Facebook have pledged long-term investment into London, saying that the capital is leading place for technology and innovation.”
It’s important to note, however, that the two aren’t mutually exclusive: London can be both a brilliant place for business and prohibitively expensive. On this occasion, Samsung has taken the view that Berlin can offer all the benefits with none of the drawbacks. London’s loss is Berlin’s gain.