ChatGPT parent company OpenAI to open first office outside the US in London

CEO Sam Altman says London location is an "opportunity to attract world-class talent".
Shubhangi Dua
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

Wikimedia Commons  

As artificial intelligence (AI) takes center stage globally, with new regulations on the horizon, a leading firm in the space is looking to expand internationally.

San Francisco-based ChatGPT's parent company OpenAI announced this week that it would begin to expand outside the US, with London selected as the location for its first international office.

The UK is thought to be one of the best places for new AI startups and is set to host its first AI Summit in June 2024, to “unite the most forward-thinking technologists and business professionals to explore the real-world applications of AI.”

The huge boom in consumer-facing AI tools over the last six months has led to considerable concerns worldwide, including recent reports on a group of individuals in the US suing OpenAI for violating “vast amounts” of privacy laws in a class action lawsuit. 

While London plans its “pro-innovation” regulation, Altman said that the move was an "opportunity to attract world-class talent".

Additionally, Altman says that the UK office will reinforce efforts to create “safe AGI (artificial general intelligence”). The Guardian reports AGI is a brilliant AI system that Altman describes as “generally smarter than humans.”


The new office proposal comes after OpenAI CEO criticized proposed EU legislation regulating AI, announced on May 11, prohibiting some AI practices including bans on intrusive and discriminatory uses of AI systems.

Irrespective of potential EU rules, Altman has said he has no plans to leave Europe, but was quoted as saying that it would be technically impossible to comply with some of the new AI regulations, particularly the AI Act’s safety and transparency requirements.

It is not known whether the UK's 2021 departure from the EU, following Brexit, influenced OpenAI's decision to open an office there.

Growing sector

The UK's Science, Innovation, and Technology Secretary, Chloe Smith told the BBC, “OpenAI's decision to expand into London as their first international office is another vote of confidence for Britain as an AI powerhouse”.

"Our AI sector already employs more than 50,000 people across the country, and we will continue to foster an approach that unlocks opportunity and cements our place as a global destination for artificial intelligence," said Smith.

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that AI could "positively transform humanity" and "deliver better outcomes for the British public, with emerging opportunities in a range of areas to improve public services".

In the past, Minister on Leave Michelle Donelan's policy paper has stated that the UK is planning to invest £110 million in AI Tech Missions Fund, £900 million to establish a new AI Research Resource and to develop an exascale supercomputer, capable of running large AI models.

“It will be backed up by our new £8m AI Global Talent Network and £117m of existing funding to create hundreds of new PhDs for AI researchers,” she said.

Talent pool

ChatGPT developers’ head of human resources, Diane Yoon says, “We are thrilled to extend our research and development footprint into London, a city globally renowned for its rich culture and exceptional talent pool”.

Yoon went on to say that OpenAI was eager to build dynamic teams in research and engineering to reinforce efforts in creating and promoting safe AI.

The firm’s popular chatbot ChatGPT kickstarted a global arms race in AI-powered products, with Microsoft reportedly investing $13bn in OpenAI.

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