Google has thrown its weight behind Tech City, East London's fast-growing hub for Internet companies, by signing a lease for a seven-floor building that will serve as a launch-pad for new start-ups and developers.

The centre, due to open in 2012, will house advisers from Google and other organisations that support technology entrepreneurs, the U.S. company said on Wednesday.

It will be located close to Old Street roundabout, dubbed Silicon Roundabout, in an area of London that has already attracted hundreds of new Internet start-ups.

The move supports British Prime Minister David Cameron's ambition, announced in November 2010, for London's East End to become a technology centre to rival California's Silicon Valley.

The plan was backed by a host of technology companies, including Google, Vodafone , Facebook and Intel .

Google, which will retain its central London offices, said the centre would be the first initiative of its kind for the company anywhere in the world.

Finding a suitable building is the first major step, and we hope to announce more details about the organisations we'll work with and how they will use the space in the coming months, said David Singleton, Google UK's engineering director.

East London is already home to hundreds of innovative British start-ups, and has huge potential for economic growth and new jobs over the coming years.