Cloud nine: IBM announces major UK expansion, following Facebook and Google commitments

William Turvill
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IBM is opening four new cloud data centres in the UK (Source: Getty)
BM has joined fellow US tech giants Facebook and Google in announcing a major multi-million dollar investment into the UK.

The company is today announcing plans for four new cloud data centres – where corporate and consumer information is stored remotely – in the UK “to keep pace with growing client demand”.

The commitment marks IBM Cloud’s largest single investment into one country and City A.M. understands it will lead to a triple-figure headcount increase in the UK. The firm currently employs around 15,000 people in Britain.

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“Today's announcement by IBM is a further boost for this thriving area, and another vote of confidence which shows Britain is open for business,” said Matt Hancock, minister for digital and culture. “These new cloud data centres will help our firms work smarter and quicker to become the world-leading businesses of tomorrow.”

The announcement comes after Facebook said on Monday it would be hiring an additional 500 employees next year when it opens a new London headquarters. And Google last week confirmed plans to expand its London headquarters and create 3,000 new jobs in the capital.

The IBM investment will increase the company’s cloud data centre footprint in the UK to six, on top of 10 across Europe and more than 50 worldwide.

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“By adding four new cloud data centres in the UK, IBM is giving local businesses an easy route to the cloud, helping them quickly innovate and respond to market demands,” said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president of IBM Cloud.

“IBM is continuing to invest in high growth areas, offering clients higher-value cloud data services such as Watson and blockchain running on our cloud infrastructure that delivers world-class scalability, performance and security.”

The race to control the cloud computing market has triggered a spending spree from some of the world’s biggest tech titans.

Read more: Oracle and BT team up for UK cloud push

IBM is rushing to catch up with the likes of Microsoft and current leader Amazon, who grabbed early market share by offering rock-bottom prices.

Google, Adobe and Oracle are also looking to increase their cloud computing footprint.

The first of IBM's two new UK data centres will be opened in Hampshire.

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