/ 27 September 2011

Ireland smiles as Twitter sets up shop in Dublin

Ireland’s reputation as the European capital for web companies and social media has been further enhanced after Twitter agreed to set up shop in Dublin.

The microblogging site joins Google, Facebook, Zynga and half a dozen other online firms that have set up an international headquarters in Dublin.

A spokesperson for Twitter said: “The Twitter office in Dublin, our third location outside of the US, is a great next step in the company’s global expansion.”

Being typically coy about its operations, it made the announcement in a tweet and refused to say how many staff it would employ or what its plans were for the Dublin office.

Google set up its international HQ in Dublin in 2004 with 200 members of staff. It is now one of Dublin’s biggest employers with 2 200 people working for it, including developers and sales support staff.

Ireland’s jobs minister Richard Bruton said it was “a great win” for Ireland and showed that the “underlying strengths” of the Irish economy were recognised internationally.

Separately BioWare, the company behind the Star Wars game, is creating 200 support jobs in Galway. The new facility is BioWare’s first outside of North America. The new Star Wars game will be released in the US and Europe just before Christmas.

The Industrial Development Authority in Dublin has had huge success in attracting new media companies to Ireland. Facebook will employ around 300 people by the end of 2012, LinkedIn 140, while Zynga, which has just opened its European offices in Dublin, will hire about 100 by the end of the year.

Other big employers in the sector include PayPal which has 1 300 staff in Dublin, and eBay, which has about 1 000. AOL and Yahoo! also have operations in Dublin.

Barry O’Leary, the chief executive of the IDA, said he was “thrilled” that Twitter was coming to Dublin. “Twitter is a fantastic addition to Ireland’s dynamic digital media cluster,” he added.

Ireland is attractive to multinationals because of its 12.5% corporate tax rate — but even more so because of laws which allow the likes of Google to legally shuttle profit through subsidiaries in Ireland and onto tax havens.

Google, which funnels all its European revenues through Dublin, pays 2.4% tax on operations outside the US. – guardian.co.uk