Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s chief of gaming and app partnerships Julien Codorniou hinted that the social networking giant is looking to acquire start-ups in the UK to strengthen its mobile expertise. He said the company is always looking for opportunities to gain mobile talent.

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Facebook to invest in London-based startups?

Last month, there were rumors that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) was planning to purchase the artificial intelligence company DeepMind. But Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) swallowed up the London-based start-up for £400 million. In another development, Zynga Inc (NASDAQ:ZNGA) acquired Oxford-based NaturalMotion for $527 million. These were acqui-hires, where the buyer gains talented developers of a start-up by acquiring it. It shows that UK start-ups are now hot targets of the U.S. technology giants, says Oscar Williams-Grut of The Independent.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has about $11 billion in cash reserves. Mr. Codorniou said in a recent interview that London was among the five biggest hotspots in Europe for mobile app development. Codorniou called the Samurai Siege game developer SpaceApe a promising British start-up, and said the event booking app YPlan is an important partner of Facebook. For more than a year, the Menlo Park-based social media company has worked hard to gain traction in mobile. The company recently unveiled a smartphone app called Paper.

Facebook has become a “mobile first” company

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s fourth quarter earnings reflect that Mark Zuckerberg has finally transformed it into a “mobile first” company. The social networking giant said mobile advertising accounted for more than 53% of its total ad revenue in Q4, and more than 50% of its 1.23 billion users access the site through mobile devices. Facebook recently purchased Indian startup Little Eye Labs, which develops tools to analyze the performance of Android apps.

Julien Codorniou predicts that smartphones will soon transform the e-commerce industry. Mobile has already disrupted the gaming industry, and online shopping could be next.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares were down 0.33% to $64.21 at 9:38 AM EST.