Twitter may be blocked in mainland China, but there is still plenty of money to be made from beyond the Great Firewall. The company opened a Hong Kong office today with the goal of helping companies in China market to overseas consumers.
“Opening our Hong Kong office now and hiring a sales team to work directly with advertisers across the Greater China market will contribute to our next phase of growth in Asia,” Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, Shailesh Rao, told the South China Morning Post. TechCrunch has contacted the company for more information on how it plans to achieve that.
Twitter’s China strategy is similar to the approach taken by Facebook, which is also banned in China. Even if the government miraculously decided to unblock them, Twitter and Facebook would both face daunting competition from homegrown social networking services like WeChat and Sina Weibo.
In a talk at Tsinghua University last October, however, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “Facebook is already in China” because the site gives companies an international marketing tool.
In other words, a social networking site doesn’t need users in China to make money there, as long as it has companies paying for advertising and or setting up marketing accounts.
Twitter is currently looking for an account executive and media partnership manager in Hong Kong, which means that it may plan to convince more celebrities and entertainment or news companies to create accounts that will reach their international fanbase.
This is the second office in Asia Twitter has launched this month. Its Jakarta branch officially opened last week. Indonesia is an important market for social media and mobile companies because it is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world.