Snapchat picks London as global base outside U.S.

Snap has around 75 staff in the UK, up from six a year ago and is looking to add a nearby site to its office in London's Soho district AFP

LONDON —

Snap Inc, which runs smartphone messaging app Snapchat, said Tuesday it had chosen London as its international headquarters, praising the UK’s creative industries.

It comes after Facebook, Google and Apple last year announced major investments in London, underlining the capital’s status as a technology hub as Britain prepares to exit the European Union.

“I am happy to confirm that the UK is the Snap Inc family’s hub outside the U.S.,” a Snap spokeswoman said.

Snap has around 75 staff in the UK, up from six a year ago and is looking to add a nearby site to its office in London’s Soho district, she added.

“We believe in the UK creative industries,” said Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap’s UK operations, in a statement.

“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 news was welcomed by the right-wing government of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, who is due to trigger Brexit by the end of March.

“The UK continues to be a hugely attractive destination for international investment, including global tech,” a government spokesperson said.

“Our technology industry is central to securing future economic growth and this government is committed to ensuring it continues to thrive.‎”

Snap’s UK entity will book revenues from customers in the UK and countries where there is no local entity or sales force. Its only other European entity is in Paris.

The firm behind the popular disappearing message application says it has more than 150 million daily active users, including 50 million in Europe.

In November, Snap Inc. reportedly filed confidential paperwork for a public share offering valuing the messaging platform at more than $20 billion.

The initial public offering (IPO) would be among the biggest in the tech sector in recent years and shine a light on the fast-growing platform.

Snapchat is famous for mobile messages and photos that disappear within seconds after being viewed by the recipient. The free service launched in 2012.

© 2017 AFP

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