Facebook has chosen London as the global centre of a payments push for messaging platform Whatsapp, as the capital gains another boost in tech workers and post-Brexit confidence.
Whatsapp, which is owned by Facebook, will hire around 100 people in an expansion of its workforce by about a quarter, the Financial Times first reported.
The hires will largely be highly-skilled technical engineering staff, with most positions based in London. Additional operations staff will also be brought on at Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin.
Whatsapp said the recruitment effort will be led by senior engineers from the messaging app’s founding team, who were sent to London late last year to scout for talent.
Facebook said it settled on the UK as the future hub for expansion because of its multicultural workforce from countries where Whatsapp is popular, such as India. The app, which has 1.5bn users globally, is also far more popular in the UK than in the US.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that Whatsapp’s mobile payments will launch in several countries this year.
The company is making a concerted effort to refocus the social media platform towards privacy, after a slew of data scandals in recent years.
Whatsapp's end-to-end encryption is set to be rolled out across Facebook's other apps, Messenger and Instagram, to make way for an eventual integration of all three platforms.
“We’re eager to work with some of the best technical and operational experts in both London and Dublin to take Whatsapp into its second decade,” said Matthew Idema, Whatsapp's chief operating officer.
“Whatsapp is a truly global service and these teams will help us provide Whatsapp payments and other great features for our users everywhere.”