The value of Snapchat's parent company Snap is almost $30 billion after its shares rose 44 per cent on the first day of trading on the US stock market.

At the close of trading on Thursday each share was worth $24.48, up from an opening offer price of $17.

The firm's initial public offering is the biggest for an American tech firm since Facebook in 2012.

Snapchat allows users to send messages and videos which vanish after reading. It is competing with Facebook to be seen amongst teens as the social media platform of choice.

OPINION: Is Snapchat here to stay?

Snap has never made a profit and suffered widening losses last year despite increasing revenue six-fold last year to $404.5 million. User growth has also slowed in recent months.

The IPO made multi-billionaires of Snapchat’s founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy.

The duo will retain control of the company as investors at the flotation do not have voting rights.