Twitter added just 14 million new users in its last quarter of business, and now it is making a big push to grow in Asia and the Middle East, two regions that collectively account for over half of the planet’s internet users… and where Facebook continues to be hugely popular.
The microblogging company today said it is “investing” in working with key publishers, who it hopes will lean on Twitter, Vine and Periscope to distribute their news and media content and reach readers.
As part of this new focus, Twitter announced that Rishi Jaitly has become its new Vice President of Media for Asia Pacific and Middle East. Former U.S.-based Googler Jaitly was previously Market Director for India and Southeast Asia at Twitter. In his new role, he is charged with selling the concept of Twitter, Vine and Periscope into publishing companies and media firms across both regions.
Twitter said that, in particular, Jaitly would expand the media teams in Australia, India and Japan, and push on into Greater China — mainland China and Taiwan — as well as Southeast Asia. (Interestingly, state-owned Chinese publisher Xinhua is a big user of Twitter and it publishes daily reviews of China’s news on Facebook and Twitter — so even government censorship doesn’t stop potential partnerships.)
“As many of our largest user markets are in these regions, my strategic priorities are to enable our content partners to grow their audience on Twitter, increase our engagement with emerging talent and digital natives, and bring more premium non-English content onto Twitter,” Jaitly said in a statement. “Our goal is to make Twitter the first and best way to show you what’s happening in your world right now.”
Twitter has largely struggled to break the Asian market, both in terms of accumulating large userbases and growing its revenue, Japan aside. Facebook, on the other hand, is a juggernaut in this part of the world. Despite having more than 950 million daily active users worldwide, the firm is still growing its userbase in Asia — which rose from 270 million daily users in Q1 2015 to 285 million in Q2.
Yes, Facebook and Twitter are not the same — despite Wall Street’s initial expectation that Twitter could easily emulate its fellow social network — but the fact that Facebook can continue to grow (the above figures are daily users from Asia alone) should encourage other social networks that they can be successful in Asia, too. Twitter is particularly well suited to mobile and it really should be doing better in Asia and the Middle East. Time will tell whether roping in big-hitting media partners can help fulfill that promise.