Dyson, the UK technology company that produces a range of household appliances, announced plans on January 22 to move its headquarters from Malmesbury, UK, to Singapore, claiming that the move was solely for commercial reasons.

Dyson joins several companies who have decided to shift their headquarters out of the UK amid an atmosphere of Brexit uncertainty. These include Japanese technology giants Sony and Pana-sonic, who are moving their European headquarters from London to Amsterdam.

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Dyson CEO Jim Rowan asserted that the decision was unrelated to Brexit and was made to move operations closer to Dyson’s major markets and manufacturing facilities in Asia.

Asian markets account for more than 50% of the company’s £1.1bn  ($1.42bn) annual gross profit, which leapt by one-third in 2018, while just 4% of its £4.4bn annual sales were in the UK.

Dyson also announced plans to invest £2bn into an electric car production facility in Singapore in October 2018. The company’s
facility is ideally placed to utilise Singapore’s pool of engineering expertise and gain access to China, which accounted for almost half of global electric passenger car sales in the first half of 2018.

The company will thus join Singapore’s favourable business environment, with its relatively low corporate tax rate of 17% (which will be matched by the UK from 2020) and generous tax exemptions from the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Dyson paid £185m in tax worldwide in 2017, including £61m in UK corporate tax. It is unclear whether the headquarters relocation will lead to a fall in UK government tax receipts, as Dyson will keep its R&D and technology operations in the UK.

The headquarters shift will see just two top executives – the chief financial officer and the chief legal officer – join Mr Rowan, who is already based in Singapore. Dyson has 1100 workers in Singapore and says the move will not affect its 4800 UK workers.