Snapchat picks post-Brexit London for international HQ
Snapchat has announced it will make London the centre of its international operations, in a move that is being seen as a vote of confidence in Britain’s post-Brexit tech sector.
Snap Incorporated, the Los Angeles-based parent company behind Snapchat, will use its UK headquarters to book revenues from all sales made to customers outside of the US.
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.
Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Inc’s UK arm, said: “We believe in the UK creative industries. The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than ten million daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”
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.”
This pivot into camera hardware was kicked off last year with the release of Snapchat’s Spectacles – sunglasses that can record short bursts of video and send them to smartphones via Bluetooth. So far the product is only available in the US, but when it comes to the rest of the world the revenue is now expected to be recorded in the UK.