Facebook expands Irish international HQ

Facebook is adding 200 jobs to its European headquarters in Dublin  after recently doubling the size of its office there.

The new jobs are part of an Irish expansion by the social media giant to 250,000 square feet of office space in Dublin’s “Silicon Docks” with room for up to 2,000 employees. It has also opened a Facebook Partner Center in Dublin, the first outside its headquarters in Menlo Park.

Facebook started its Irish operation with a team of 30 people in 2009. The 200 new jobs will bring its Dublin workforce to 1,500 employees.

Facebook is also building a major data center in Ireland, and appears to be doubling down on its investment in the land of saints, leprechauns and a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.

The low tax rate has been a source of controversy among European Union neighbors, but Irish trade officials say it’s one of a number of advantages Ireland offers, including an English-speaking, well-educated workforce that has drawn Silicon Valley tech companies to the island republic for decades.

“We’re not Silicon Valley, but we’re getting there,” said Shane Nolan, vice president for technology at IDA Ireland, the Irish government’s arm for foreign direct investment, which has advised dozens of Silicon Valley companies on opening and expanding operations in Ireland.

Among tech companies expanding Irish operations recently are Oracle, Apple, Facebook, Uber, Workday, LinkedIn and Microsoft. Apple employs 6,000 in Cork, and is building a $1 billion data center in Galway.

The Chinese networking company Huawei has three research centers in network analytics, Nolan said in an interview this week. “Silicon Valley put us on the map, but our profile is now global,” he said.

The country is promoting itself as a center for research and development, beyond the data center destination it has become for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft and others. The Irish government last year allocated 245 million euros into five new research centers in collaboration with more than 165 industry partners, including Intel, Google and Microsoft.

There has been a trend toward early-stage ventures opening offices in Ireland, according to Deirdre Moran, who advises startups from IDA Ireland’s office in Mountain View. She said that an average of one U.S West Coast company has opened an office in Ireland every two weeks over the past two years.

The country has 4.6 million people and is pushing immigration to strengthen its workforce. About 17 percent of its population was born elsewhere, and 25 percent in high tech, according to IDA Ireland.

Photo: Facebook “like” (AFP/Getty Images)


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