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.

8 lessons to learn from Snapchat's CEO

  • If Silicon Valley had a bad boy icon, it would be Evan Spiegel. The CEO and co-founder of Snapchat shot to the limelight when the app became wildly popular, with 100 million daily users and reportedly 6 billion video views per day.
  • To top it off, he has a reputation of loving the party life and his popularity with the ladies has cemented his place as the tech company director that everyone wants to talk about. At 25, he's also the world's youngest billionaire.
  • 1. It's not about the degree, it's about the experience

    While Spiegel didn't complete his degree, he's no slacker. He's taken several classes that helped bolster his skills in product design, including a class at the Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena, and two continuing-education courses at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

  • 2. When mistakes are uncovered, apologise for them as quickly as you can

    In the USC Marshall Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony in 2015, Spiegel may have made a reference to the emails, saying, "You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I've already made a ton of them - some of them very publicly - and it will feel terrible, but it will be okay. Just apologize as quickly as you can and pray for forgiveness."

  • 3. Mistakes can become the best opportunities - learn to spot them

    The inspiration behind Snapchat, for instance, began with a mistake, albeit one made by co-founder Reggie Brown: he'd stepped into Spiegel's room to discuss a photo he wished he didn't send to someone.

  • 4. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again

    As an entrepreneur, you can't be deterred by the idea of failure. Spiegel's first business came in the form of Future Freshman in 2010. The site, which was designed to help high schoolers deal with the stressful college admissions process, never took off. According to Spiegel, "We got, like, maybe five people on the service."

  • 5. It's okay to say no to money

    When there's a great idea and a well-performing app, it attracts the attention of many investors. One such investor was Facebook, who offered US$3 billion in cash to acquire Snapchat. Despite the large and very attractive number, Spiegel turned down the money, opting to grow the company on his own terms.

  • 6. Age doesn't really matter

    Thinking back to everything that he's accomplished, it's tough to remember that Spiegel was born in 1990. That means that the first prototype of Snapchat launched when he was merely 21, and Snapchat became wildly successful just a year later. He joined the Forbes 400 at age 25, coming in at No. 327, and became the world's youngest billionaire.

  • 7. Don't believe nerd stereotypes

    The age of technology has made it so that tech CEOs are some of the coolest and most pursued guys around, and Spiegel is no exception. He is currently dating ex-Victoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr, and is known for being a fan of partying.

  • 8. Life isn't fair - it's about working the system

    "I am a young, white, educated male. I got really, really lucky," Spiegel said. "And life isn't fair. So if life isn't fair - it's not about working harder, it's about working the system."

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