Snapchat growing hardware team in China

Snapchat growing hardware team in China
PHOTO: AFP

Snap Inc. has been staffing up and expanding globally ahead of its highly anticipated public offering next year. The startup, formerly known as Snapchat, most recently opened an office in Shenzhen, China.

The new office, which currently has about 20 employees, is focused on the development of Spectacles, Snap's recently-released video-camera sunglasses, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The manufacturing of the devices also takes place in China, but is led by the Chinese company Goertek in other facilities.

The expansion comes even as Snapchat and other US-based social apps Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China. Furthermore, the platforms have behemoth would-be competitors such as WeChat (Facebook), Weibo (Twitter) and Snow (Snapchat). But that hasn't stopped these companies from opening up shop in China.

Facebook and Twitter have offices in the country that are focused on advertising. And Apple has created an Asia-Pacific research and development centre.

For Snap, a China office may bolster its hardware ambitions, as the Los Angeles Times notes, but the team could hire for sales and advertising in the future. The team can also more closely follow other local tech companies, including smartphone maker Huawei, Alibaba, Baidu and Tencent.

The Chinese tech giant Alibaba invested $200 million in Snapchat last year, and Tencent has also reportedly invested in the company.

For now, Snap is hiring locally and seeking people who have experience with China's tech players, according to a job listing surfaced by a Chinese news publication earlier this week. These potential employees may also have the opportunity to transfer to the US team.

Snap has grown to more than 1,500 from 330 employees 18 months ago.

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