Has Twitter the jitters over Dublin for European HQ?

HOPES that Dublin would be chosen for Twitter’s European HQ are fading, amid speculation the micro-blogging site is establishing a base in London.
Despite intense lobbying on the country’s behalf by IDA Ireland, Twitter has begun recruiting for a UK office.
Twitter last night denied it had made its mind up about where it was going to locate its European HQ.
Despite this, Dublin’s chances are looking increasingly unlikely, at least for now..
This follows a report on the Irish technology news website siliconrepublic.com – by respected IT reporter John Kennedy – which yesterday posted news about Twitter recruitment moves in the UK.
Kennedy also reported that Twitter chiefs have started scouting for property in London’s West End due to open next year.
The offices are expected to be run by high-flier Katie Jacob Stanton, Twitter’s head of international strategy and special adviser to the US State Department’s Office of Innovation.
Last night, Twitter spokeswoman Carolyn Penner said: ‘We said last year that we planned to have an initial and small presence in Europe in 2011.
‘As part of that effort, we are in the process of hiring in London. We have not yet determined the location of our European headquarters.’
But when asked if Dublin was still in with a chance, whether or not Twitter will start recruiting or sourcing property for offices in Ireland, the spokeswoman – who only appears to communicate via email – said that there would be no further comment.
That reply also stood when Ms Penner was asked if there was any reason why Twitter had started recruiting and sourcing property in the UK rather than in Dublin.
Last night, social media expert Damien Mulley said: ‘When Facebook came to Europe, they chose London to start off with but ended up in Dublin.
‘But one of the most significant differences between Facebook and Twitter is revenue.
‘Facebook earns more than €1billion each year, while Twitter earns little more than €50million-a-year.
‘So Ireland’s favourable Corporation Tax rate will have little or no impact on Twitter.
‘Besides, London is where the big multi-national ad agencies are based.’
He added: ‘That said, the fact that Twitter have started establishing a base in London is worrying from Dublin’s point-of-view.
‘There has been a huge lobbying campaign from Ireland to attract Twitter.
‘If their first move off the back of that is to set up a base in London, then that is a sign of where Twitter is heading.
‘If they are not making money – which, let’s face it, they aren’t – why would they need to base themselves in Ireland?
‘But what is really worrying about this is if – once Twitter is based in London – the UK government make their Corporation Tax as attractive as Ireland, Twitter could well just end up opening their European HQ there instead.’
Google and Facebook already have their headquarters for the EMEA
(Europe, Middle East and Africa) in Dublin.
The prospect of Twitter basing its European HQ has been seen as further cementing Ireland’s reputation as Ireland’s leading social media hub.
But privately, British prime minister David Cameron and London mayor Boris Johnson – who invited Twitter executives to Downing Street last December – see Twitter’s current UK activities as a massive boost in their bid to woo Twitter.
And Ms Jacobs Stanton later tweeted – of that meeting – ‘Hugely impressed with PM Cameron @MayorOfLondon & the @Number10gov teams. #OpenGov is going strong in the UK.’
However, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey praised the Irish work ethic during an interview on the Late Late Show – hosted by avid Twitter fan Ryan Tubridy – in October 2010.
He said: ‘There is a definite entrepreneurial desire [in Ireland] and a lot of creativity.’
An IDA spokesman said at the time: ‘It  is no secret, Twitter is one of our high-profile targets.
‘And we would be anxious that they would come to Ireland.
‘We have had talks with Twitter and others, and we hope to attract them here. We won’t disclose the level of detail, and we don’t have firm plans.’
However, he added: ‘In the marketplace you have to be confident.
‘We have a formula that has worked in the past. And there is always huge secrecy due to the nature of the in-vestment.’
Ireland’s 12.5 per cent corporate tax rate has helped attract around 75 major international high-tech corporations including Microsoft, Google and Amazon.
While the 12.5 per cent helps, the IDA believes the skilled workers are our greatest asset.
Twitter has experienced huge growth even before Barack Obama used it in his presidential campaign.
At home, the phenomenon has turned Senator Dan Boyle into the conscience of the Green Party.
It has also been the cause of huge embarrassment for the Taoiseach when Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney reacted to his famous ‘hoarse’
interview on Morning Ireland by tweeting that Mr Cowen sounded ‘halfway between drunk and hungover’, a line that was picked up by the international media, turning the Taoiseach’s late night singing session into a global issue.

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