Last week, we wrote about the opening of Twitter’s new office in Jakarta, Indonesia. And as of yesterday, the social media site is back with yet another office space in Hong Kong.
No big deal, you might think. They’re just moving into new territory, you might say. But there is actually just a tiny problem: Twitter is banned in China, and Internet users in the mainland cannot access the micro-blogging site at all (friends residing in certain parts of China have informed me, though, that there are ways to get past the censorship, if one only knows the right methods).
That said, not having access to Twitter hasn’t stopped advertisers in the mainland from using the site to reach global audiences. According to Reuters (via Channel NewsAsia), companies who wish to gain access to Twitter’s 288 million users worldwide have been spending a significant amount on buying advertising space on the site.
In fact, in the last quarter of 2014 alone, Twitter earned US$479 million from advertisers around the world, simply by placing “promoted tweets” – those annoying tweets we don’t give a second look to – into our timelines.
And with a new office in Hong Kong, Twitter believes that it will be able to capitalise on the fact that many Chinese enterprises are looking to go global, and can now do so via their site.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice-president for Asia Pacific, said, “We’re capitalising on this growing trend where the most ambitious, entrepreneurial and successful Chinese companies want to go global, and we believe that Twitter is an essential way for them to connect and engage with the world.”
So while advertisers from China won’t be able to view tweets themselves, they will get a potential 288 million pairs of eyes looking at their products and services – provided those hundreds of millions of people don’t close the ads first.