Dublin's Grand Canal Square, just south of the River Liffey, is known as Googletown. In 2011, Google (GOOG), which employs more than 2,500 people in Ireland, bought the neighborhood's 15-story Montevetro building. Nearby is Facebook's (FB) European headquarters, along with outposts for LinkedIn (LNKD), Yahoo! (YHOO), and other U.S. technology companies, some of them Dublin fixtures for over a decade. They've been drawn to expand there by the strapped government's flat 12.5 percent corporate tax rate.
By comparison, corporate tax rates top out at 35 percent in the U.S., 33 percent in France, and 24 percent in the U.K. "The Irish government has obviously come up with a very, very, shall we say, positive tax scheme," says Petter Made, co-founder of SumUp, a mobile-payments company founded in Berlin that's now headquartered in Dublin and employs about 35 people there.