Reading is a major commercial centre in Berkshire, with involvement in information technology and insurance, and, despite its proximity to London, has a net inward commuter flow. Situated in a number of business parks around the town are the UK headquarters of major corporations including Oracle, Microsoft and Hibu (Yell).

The town is also a key retail centre and its Oracle shopping centre serves a large area of the Thames Valley as well housing bars, restaurants and cinema screens. Every year it hosts the Reading Festival, one of England’s biggest music festivals.