Despite becoming embroiled in the UK’s increasingly controversial row about injunctions which gag the press but not Twitter users, Twitter itself is going ahead with plans to open a new office in London.
The only question is where the office will be in London. It started hiring back in February and we’ve previously speculated that Twitter would use a London base to suck engineering talent out of Google’s UK HQ. Google has recently opened yet another office in Victoria, of 160,000 square feet.
But, it looks less likely that this will be the case (sad face), as the FT suggests. Wang is – as his profile suggests: “I work at Twitter doing deals” – a sales guy, and the London office looks like it will be focused on advertising sales and partnerships. The official @TwitterUK account is even talking about office designs. This is how Facebook plays it: small sales office in London, European HQ in Dublin which is largely accounting, admin (though where Twitter puts an EU HQ is not yet confirmed).
So although government spin masters have been showing Twitter execs the ‘Silicon Roundabout’ Startup cluster in London’s East End, it seems more likely that Wang will be based in the media-friendly West End, where the deals with advertising agencies and telcos are typically done over lunch and a nice bottle of Pinot.
However, having a London office could be a double-edged sword. Twitter will be able to do international ad deals – but it might mean Twitter’s UK limited company becomes a lightning rod for trigger-happy celebrities who love the UK’s strict libel laws.