Facebook to set up London engineering team to focus on platform and mobile

Facebook wants a presence in a city where engineers like to live

Facebook is setting up an engineering team in London that is expected to focus on its platform and mobile development, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.

The team will be kept fairly small at first and will consist of 12 people, all experienced engineers who have been working with Facebook in the U.S., said Iain Mackenzie, spokesman for Facebook Europe in an email. This "landing team" will get the London engineering team up and running as Facebook starts recruiting, he added.

"We are expecting engineers to apply from anywhere and everywhere -- although with so much talent in Europe it is likely we will see a significant portion coming from here," he said.

Facebook is looking for a manager for software engineering, an Android developer, a platform developer, a mobile developer and a tools engineer, according to the current job openings on the social network's London job page.

Facebook hasn't set a definite number on the people it is recruiting for the moment, Mackenzie said, adding that the engineering team will grow in response to business needs.

There are no specific projects for the new team at the moment, he said. Typically at Facebook engineering specialties tend to emerge based on different teams' skills and interests, he said, adding that Facebook does expect the team to focus on the platform and mobile.

Facebook is establishing an engineering team in London to get closer to engineers in London and the rest of Europe. The social network wants to have a presence in a city where engineers want to live and work, Mackenzie said. Besides the group in London, Facebook has engineering teams in New York, Seattle, and Menlo Park, Facebook's Californian home base.

About six engineers of the "landing team" are in London at the moment and the rest are expected to arrive in the next few weeks. A more formal office opening is expected in September or October when some new recruits have been through boot camp, said Mackenzie. The team will be led by Philip Su, one of Facebook's more experienced software engineers.

Facebook's announcement to set up an engineering center in the U.K. comes two days after Amazon announced it will set up a media development center in London. The Internet giant will merge the development teams of two U.K. companies it acquired, to work on the creation of interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs.

London has been promoting itself as a tech city and is pushing to become "Britain's answer to Silicon Valley" since November 2010. The number of tech companies that have set up in east London's Tech City grew from 226 to 600 over the past three years, the city announced in April.

Loek covers all things tech for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

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