Snapchat to establish headquarters in London
Image credit: PA
The company behind messaging app Snapchat will establish its international headquarters in London expressing confidence in the UK’s ‘creative industry’ despite the country’s pending withdrawal from the European Union.
Los Angeles-based Snap.Inc chose London over some of the EU’s lower-tax economies such as Ireland, Luxembourg or the Netherlands, which are frequently used by international companies as hubs for their European operations.
“We believe in the UK creative industries,” Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Group in the UK, said on Tuesday.
“The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”
The London headquarters will manage international sales outside the USA and will be based closed to the company’s current London offices in Soho. Snapchat currently employs about 75 people in London. Additional staff including a small number of engineers will be hired for the new base.
Snapchat launched in 2012 as a free mobile app allowing users to send photos that expire within seconds.
With some 150 million users globally, Snapchat is estimated to be worth some £20.6bn. The company is reportedly planning a US stock market flotation this year. The initial public offering, expected in March, will be the biggest flotation since that of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s in 2014.
The firm plans to develop new products including sunglasses with a built-in video camera.
Snap’s move to base its international HQ in London comes after Facebook, Apple and Google and IBM have all committed to the UK in recent months following the Brexit vote.
IBM said in November it would launch four new cloud data centres in the UK, while Apple is set to consolidate its London operations in Battersea Power Station from 2021.
Google will also open a new London building that could create up to 3,000 jobs and Facebook plans to create an extra 500 jobs in the UK when it opens its London HQ in 2017.
Several of these companies have been criticised for avoiding taxes in Europe. The European Commission is currently investigating the issue. Earlier this year, the EU slapped US tech giant Apple with a £11.4bn tax bill.