- The New Paper
It was an announcement filled with highlights. Not only did Dyson cross 1 billion pounds (US$1.3 billion) in annual profit for the first time, Dyson Automotive also opened a 200 million pound Hullavington Technology Campus in the UK.
But it seems no one on the Internet heard any of that.
Instead, the focus is now on Dyson’s announcement that it will be moving its corporate headquarters from Malmesbury, Wiltshire, to the little island of Singapore.
The company that revolutionised vacuum cleaners with its bagless technology said during its Wednesday (Jan 23, Singapore time) announcement that its senior executives would be making the move to the new HQ once paperwork was complete. Its CEO, Jim Rowan, is already based here.
In October last year, Dyson had also announced it would build its electric car in Singapore because the city-state is geographically closer to Dyson’s suppliers and Asian markets.
Rowan said in his announcement that the move had nothing to do with Brexit. “If your supply chain is in Asia, and you are manufacturing in the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, then obviously you don’t get badly affected with those changes post-Brexit,” he said.
According to him, the move was part of “the evolution” of the company.
“Our growth rate in Asia has doubled most other places in the world over recent years,” he was quoted by Reuters as saying, adding that the move was aimed at “future proofing” Dyson.
But some critics are not convinced.
Billionaire founder and inventor Sir James Dyson had been an outspoken Brexit supporter in 2016, and the announcement has caused him to be branded by some as a hypocrite.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran was quoted by The Guardian as saying: “This is staggering hypocrisy for Brexit-backing businessman James Dyson. It is utterly unbelievable that the business face of Brexit is moving yet another part of his business out of the UK.”
British Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted: “The rank hypocrisy of James Dyson. No sense of responsibility to his workers or to his country.”
The rank hypocrisy of James Dyson. No sense of responsibility to his workers or to his country. https://t.co/2AFvtNBbR6
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) January 22, 2019
MP for East Surrey Sam Gyimah also took to Twitter to call the decision a “betrayal” of the public who support a no-deal Brexit.
Dyson’s decision to move his HQ to Singapore reflects his narrow business interest. This is not just a transfer of two people. When HQs move, so does the intellectual property. Betrayal of the public who put their faith in him as a British business advocating a No Deal Brexit.
— Sam Gyimah MP (@SamGyimah) January 22, 2019
Scientists for EU called the announcement “staggering”.
— Scientists for EU (@Scientists4EU) January 22, 2019
Its founder Mike Galsworthy also chimed in.
Hi I’m James Dyson
I think Brexit is great
Anyway, I’ll just stand over here
On the other side of the world
But you kids carry on
Stiff upper lip
It’ll be a great show
— Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) January 22, 2019
Both Andrew Adonis, a British Labour politician and former transport minister, and Mr Ethical Nicholas Wilson, an anti-corruption campaigner, pointed out that Singapore has a free trade agreement with the EU.
I see why Dyson is moving his HQ to Singapore. 3 months ago Singapore signed a free trade agreement with the EU – so Dyson will have more access to European markets from Singapore than from the UK!https://t.co/s8xRyMk0Bb
— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) January 22, 2019
This is very worrying. WHY ARE NO UK MEDIA REPORTING* THAT SINGAPORE SIGNED A FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH THE EU LAST OCTOBER. SO DYSON CAN SELL HIS PRODUCTS TO EU TARIFF FREE. *that I can see
— Mr Ethical (@nw_nicholas) January 22, 2019
Presenter Andrew Neil also weighed in, saying: “With friends like Dyson, Brexiteers don’t really need enemies.”
With friends like Dyson, Brexiteers don’t really need enemies. https://t.co/4mT112VPFJ
— Andrew Neil (@afneil) January 22, 2019
And the anger doesn’t stop there. Over on Dyson’s official account, some consumers have left comments saying they will now boycott the brand.
— Julia Rizzolo (@chachatwist) January 22, 2019
— Vin Kelsey (@vckelsey6) January 22, 2019
Based on your lack of loyalty to the UK despite your great leader being a leading Brexiteer my current Dyson devices will be my last.
— Mike Nield (@Wonkawarla) January 22, 2019
I’m sorry but I can no longer buy your products because of the sheer hypocrisy of your founder, truly shameful.
— Emmet Lyons (@Emmetlyons) January 22, 2019
Very short sighted Dyson- you will loose a lot of customers now!
— Matt (@Mattb1986) January 22, 2019