Facebook to set up international HQ in Dublin


Social-networking website Facebook has confirmed plans to establish its international headquarters in Dublin.

The annnoucement was made by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan, this morning.

The company said Dublin will be the centre for its international operations and will provide technical, sales and operations support to users and customers across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

No details were forthcoming on where the company will be based or on how many new jobs are likely to be created as a result of  Facebook's expansion into Ireland. However, a spokesman for IDA Ireland said that recruitment activities were believed to already be underway.

In establishing a presence in Dublin, the website follows in the footsteps of other leading internet-based firms including Google, eBay and Yahoo!, who all have offices in the capital.

"We looked at a number of different locations and ultimately decided that Dublin was the best pick for a couple of different reasons," Don Faul, Facebook's chief of online operations told the Irish Times.

"One is that it has got a really strong, multi-lingual talent pool which will really help us grow and scale and ultimately get closer to our users, advertisers and developers in the region. In addition, the Irish Government has a long track record of being a great partner for global companies as they scale their international operations," he added.

Mr Faul refused to be drawn on speculation as to how many positions would be created as a result of the move to Dublin, other than to say the company "would be starting small."

Established in 2004 by Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook is one of the world's most popular social-networking websites with an estimated 100 million people signed up to the site and membership
growing by around 250,000 every day.

According to a recent report from the Irish Computer Society, the use of Facebook has more than doubled in Ireland during the last 12 months. An estimated 308,000 Irish people now use the website, up from 131,600 last October.

ICT Ireland, the Ibec-affiliate which represents the technology industry locally, welcomed today's announcement, saying it was "a strong endorsement of Ireland as a centre of excellence for the high tech sector.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland also welcomed the announcement.

"Ireland is becoming a hub for digital media and internet based companies. The presence of Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo and now Facebook cements our reputation as an excellent location for these companies. It is an extremely important investment win in light of the continued challenges presented by global economic events," said Joanne Richardson, CEO of the Amercian Chamber.