Snapchat is to open first international HQ in London despite the Brexit vote, saying the UK’s strong creative industries made it “a great place to build a global business”.
The Los Angeles-based group, which has 150 million users a day worldwide, confirmed it will book all sales made outside the US and where it has no local entity in Britain.
Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc said the UK’s strong creative industries made it “a great place to build a global business”.
Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Group in the UK, added: “We believe in the UK creative industries. 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.”
This bucks the trend established by other big US tech companies, such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, which have set up international headquarters in European jurisdictions with lower-tax regimes, such as Ireland or Luxembourg.
Such deals have not always worked so well in the past. Apple, for example, was recently ordered by the European Commission to pay €13 billion in back taxes to the Irish government – a demand both Ireland and Apple are combatting.
The decision to base Snapchat’s international operations in the UK also comes at a time when many companies and investors are anxious about how the tech sector will adapt to the possibility of a “hard Brexit”.
Many firms have expressed concerns about the future of investment in the UK, although larger companies including Facebook and Google have made moves to show commitment to the country.
Snapchat in the US recently rebranded as Snap Incorporated. The company’s new UK entity will be called Snap Group Limited, which is likewise intended to refocus attention on the firm as a camera company rather than the owner of a single app.
“We believe that reinventing the camera represents our greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate,” the company website claims. “Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together.”