At the start of the week David Cleevely, who is the Chairman of the Raspberry Pi Foundation as well as the Raspberry Pi Trading company, tweeted that he was in the early stages of “moving manufacturing” out of the United Kingdom ahead of Brexit on the 29th of March.
The tweet passed mostly unnoticed, at least until yesterday, when someone assumed that Cleevely was talking about the Raspberry Pi, and it got posted to Hacker News. Where it started showing up in people’s RSS feeds.
But the story had barely gotten off the ground when the denials started to come in, both from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and from Cleevely himself.
For those of you outside of Britain it perhaps hard to understand how the Raspberry Pi is viewed here in the country, as a “remarkable” and somewhat rare British success story in a market that’s dominated by American and Asian firms.
By the end of last year there had been 23 million Raspberry Pi boards sold, making the Raspberry Pi the best selling computer of all time, and the majority of those board were made here, in the United Kingdom, in Pencoed, South Wales.
Eben Upton, founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, had this to say:
“Raspberry Pi has been manufacturing a proportion of its products in the UK since 2012. Over time, that proportion has steadily increased; Raspberry Pi 3B+ is our first product manufactured solely in the UK. We’ve always said that we don’t do this because we’re nice guys, but because the UK is the best place in the world to build our sort of product, from the point of view of quality and cost. Tariffs on our products are extremely low, and technical standardisation happens on a global basis (the things you do to get your CE mark are broadly the same things you do to get your FCC ID), so we don’t expect that any outcome to the Brexit process will undermine the case for building in the UK.”
Amongst the ongoing controversy surrounding the United Kingdom’s vote to leave the European Union, and the threat that a ‘no deal’ exit could lead to large scale job losses with perhaps as many as one in five manufacturing jobs at risk, the idea that this particular British success story might be amongst those leaving was starting the generate a lot of discussion. So it’s good to know that the Raspberry Pi will be staying in Britain, no matter what the outcome of the current mess.