Friday 17 November 2017

Snapchat to set up international HQ in London in 'vote of confidence for post-Brexit Britain'

Zlata Rodionova

Snap, the company behind the messaging app Snapchat, has established international headquarters in London, in an apparent vote of confidence for post-Brexit Britain.

The California-based tech company, which is preparing for a $25bn stock market float, will make the UK its main hub outside the US.

Snap's decision sets the company apart from top US tech companies Apple, Facebook or Microsoft, which have chosen countries such as Ireland or Luxembourg as their EU base, taking advantage of lower tax regimes there.

The UK already has one of the lowest corporation tax rates but plans to cut it further have helped boost Britain's allure for multinationals.

Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap in the UK, said: “We believe in the UK creative industries."

“The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10m daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”

A Snap spokeswoman told The Independent: “I am happy to confirm that the UK is the Snap Inc family’s hub outside the US. The UK’s strong creative industries make this a great place to build a global business.”

Snap has 75 staff in the UK, up from less than 10 last year, with an office in London's Soho. The company said it plans to open a new site nearby soon.

The decision comes as US firms face growing criticism from EU regulators and the public over their tax avoidance tactics.

In December, McDonald’s announced plans to switch its tax base to the UK from Luxembourg, where its fiscal arrangements were under attack.

In Luxembourg, two tax rulings in 2009 claimed that the fast-food giant had paid zero corporation tax, despite being based in and making profits over €250m in the country.

Meanwhile, Google in November announced it is going ahead with its plan to build headquarters in London’s King’s Cross in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the EU.

The EU in August ordered Apple to pay back as much as €13bn plus interest over tax arrangements with Ireland that regulators said were illegal.

Independent News Service

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