The social networking giant Twitter is planning to open an office in the Chinese city of Hong Kong as it looks to make further inroads into Asian markets and grow its presence across the continent.
Plans are now in place to see Twitter’s first Hong Kong office space opened in the early months of 2015, with the company apparently keen to develop relationships and generate advertising revenues through working with fast-growing businesses in China.
Precisely how many people will operate from the new Twitter office is yet to be revealed but the company’s vice president for Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets Shaliesh Roa has made clear what the priority of the new base will be.
“The real main focus of the office will be sales,” he told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). “Building sales capability to work with agencies and advertisers domestically in Hong Kong and Taiwan and those Chinese advertisers looking to go global.”
Twitter faces a variety of unusual challenges when operating in China with its social media platform officially banned by the country’s authorities who fear it might be used to organise political protests.
Roa told the WSJ that he would “love to have Twitter everywhere in the world including China.” But he added: “Unfortunately, we can’t. That’s not our choice. We don’t have control over that.”
Peter Greenberger, Twitter’s director of sales for emerging markets currently based in Singapore, will lead the new office in Hong Kong.
Back in August, the company announced that it intended to open a new office in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, but that office is yet to officially open. Its other offices in the Asia Pacific region include bases in the South Korean city of Seoul, the Japanese capital Tokyo and Australia’s biggest city of Sydney.
Twitter derives most of its revenues from advertising but, while 77 per cent of its users live outside the US, only 34 per cent of those revenues come from international sources. This situation is one which Twitter is apparently keen to change, with optimism reportedly growing that some of China’s largest ecommerce and technology companies could be ready to expand their presence on an international scale.
Like Twitter, both Facebook and Google have their primary services banned in China but they too have established offices in Hong Kong with a view to doing business with advertisers looking to attract customers in international markets.
Hong Kong office space is consistently rated as being among some of the most expensive in the world with Grade A space always at a premium across the city.