Alphabet's (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google has announced that it is opening up an engineering office in Singapore as it further expands into Asia-Pacific markets. As part of this effort, the search giant has acquired Pie, a Singapore-based start-up that offers enterprise chat services similar to Slack.
Pie was founded just three years ago as an enterprise messaging platform helping teams collaborate and even "share cat pics and invent new memes during office hours." Pie will continue operating independently for a couple more weeks before shutting down on March 2. Until then, existing customers can download all of their data such as chats, files, and contacts in order to migrate to another platform.
Does it matter?
This small deal is an acqui-hire, plain and simple. It should be pretty clear since it was announced as part of a broader plan to grow engineering talent in the region. Google is also actively hiring students from Singapore that want to pursue engineering careers at the company.
Like many other tech giants, Google is focusing very heavily on the next wave of people that are about to come online. Citing a UN statistic, Google says 2015 saw 300 million new netizens come online for the first time, which is nearly the population of the U.S. Many of these new Internet users are coming from Asia-Pacific, so Google wants to expand its presence closer to where this user growth is being generated. The company chose Singapore because it is "hyper-connected" and enjoys extremely high Internet speeds.