Tech Transformers

Snapchat chooses UK as international hub in a departure with US tech giants Facebook, Google

Snap, the owner of ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, has chosen the U.K. as an international office, the company said on Tuesday.

The U.S. start-up said the U.K. entity will book revenues from sales made to customers in the country as well as in other regions where Snap has no local office or sales force.

It's a win for British business after the UK voted to leave the European Union (EU) last year. Snap's decision to choose the U.K. is also a departure from other U.S. technology firms like Facebook, Amazon and Uber, who have decided to base their European headquarters in more tax-friendly jurisdictions like the Netherlands and Ireland.

"We believe in the U.K. creative industries. The U.K. is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we've already begun to hire talent," Claire Valoti, general manager of Snap Group Limited in the U.K., said in a press release.

Jaap Arriens | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Snap said it has over 75 staff in Britain, up from around 6 this time last year, and has a three story office in Soho, London, with an additional site opening nearby soon.

The announcement comes amid rising criticism of Silicon Valley giants' tax practices. Facebook ended up with an £11.3 million ($14 million) tax credit in the U.K. last year, which more than offset the amount it was charged. A spokesperson for the company at the time said Facebook pays "all the taxes that we are required to under U.K. law."

In March last year, Facebook pledged to restructure its tax operations and book sales from its largest advertisers in the U.K. rather than Ireland, where it had been previously.

Google, meanwhile, agreed to pay the U.K. £130 million ($157.5 million) in back taxes earlier this year.

Snapchat is likely trying to avoid the issues other U.S. firms have faced as its gears up for an initial public offering this year which could value it as high as $25 billion, according to several media reports.