Twitter is set to open an office in Hong Kong to improve relations with Greater China and tap the Asian market for advertising revenue.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the office is set to open in the first quarter of 2015 and will be used as a base for sales staff. Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets, told the publication that the main focus of the office will be sales, which will help connect Twitter to rapidly growing Chinese companies. Rao said:
The real main focus of the office will be sales. Building sales capability to work with agencies and advertisers domestically in Hong Kong and Taiwan and those Chinese advertisers looking to go global.
Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009, due to strict censorship rules enforced by the ruling body. The "Great Firewall of China" is the most well-known element of China's censorship, and thousands of domains including Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Blogspot and Dropbox cannot be accessed by Chinese citizenship without circumvention.
Despite Twitter's service block in China, the company can still turn a profit by opening an office in Hong Kong. As noted by the publication, Twitter's ad-serving subsidiary MoPub works with many Chinese app developers, and a number of Chinese companies — such as PC maker Lenovo — advertise on the platform.
The Hong Kong office will be led by Twitter's Singapore-based director of sales for emerging markets, Peter Greenberger, who has also headed a Twitter sales team based in Washington, D.C.
The microblogging website has 284 million monthly active users who send 500 million Tweets per day. In total, 77 percent of Twitter's active users are outside of the United States — although the majority of Twitter's advertising revenue originates from the country.
Twitter is headquartered in San Francisco, CA, and has 11 offices in total within the United States. In addition, the firm's 14 international offices include locations such as Amsterdam, Dublin, London, Paris, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo. In August, Twitter revealed plans to open a new site in Jakarta, Indonesia, although this office has not yet been opened.
Google already has an established office in Hong Kong, and recently Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg visited Beijing to speak to students in a 30-minute Q&A session. Both companies are also blocked in China.