The UK is one of the leading business locations in the world and the number one destination for inward investment (Foreign Direct Investment) in Europe.

The UK has consistently attracted more foreign investments with HQ operations than any other location in Europe; a clear endorsement of our business-friendly regulations and thriving environment for innovation and growth.

Unlike most of its competitors, the UK isn’t just an investment destination: rather, it is an investment multiplier, a springboard to international growth that upgrades the value of a company’s investment. The UK, in itself, offers the best of international business. Companies don’t do business in the UK just because they’re interested in the prosperous UK market. They also come here to become global.

Setting up your business in the UK takes an average of 13 days, and it takes as little as 24 hours to register a company. The UK’s internationally competitive corporate tax system, which will include 20 percent corporation tax in 2015 – the lowest in the G7 and joint lowest in the G20 – has always been and remains an increasingly valuable asset in attracting overseas European Headquarters (EHQ). Investors in the UK will find a highly skilled labour force, as well as an ever-increasing pool of industry talent. Alongside an advanced transport and technology infrastructure – a critical factor for attracting EHQ investment – and internationally recognised capabilities in a wide range of sectors, the UK undoubtedly offers a wealth of advantages for investors.

South African investors can look to the UK for its politically and economically stable environment; the UK is one of the world’s safest and friendliest locations for business and investment.

Current South African investment into the UK stands at (2012) £835 million with companies including Bidvest, Investec, Nampak, Netcare, Old Mutual, Discovery and of course Nando’s restaurants all choosing the UK to set up their European operations. There are currently 650 South African companies operating in the UK.

A recent reinvestment from Element Six (part of the De Beers Group of Companies) created 50 new jobs near Oxford, showcasing the potential growth and success of South African companies investing in the UK.

The bilateral trading relationship with South Africa is worth around £9.5 billion per year. With FDI stock of around £10 billion, the UK is the largest single investor in South Africa, with almost 50% of FDI originating from the UK or from UK based global companies creating an estimated 250,000 jobs in South Africa. Examples of successful UK investors into the South African market are Anglo American, Unilever, and Barclays. Alongside the growing relationship with South African investors this most certainly underpins the success in delivering the UK’s trade and investment ambitions with South Africa.

Deciding where to locate your international business is often a long and involved process. It is UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) job to know the UK’s strengths and where investment opportunities exist. UKTI works with a range of professional advisors to support their overseas clients who are expanding to the UK, or that have already established UK operations. Clients’ needs can be wide ranging and technical. Because of this, UKTI want to work together with companies to support their investment journey.

UKTI offers an unrivalled service dedicated to working with companies to bring their operations to the UK and to support existing investors in expanding their UK operations.

To find out more about how UKTI can provide the tools to map companies’ business ambitions in the UK, contact their expert team.  

Investment Services Team


Email:                     [email protected]

Telephone:           +44 (0)207 333 5442 / +44 (0)845 539 0419

Notes to editors

UK investment into South Africa (2012): £13.4 billion (Office for National Statistics)

South African investment into UK (2012): £835 million (Office for National Statistics)

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British Embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at

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