Twitter to set up shop in Hong Kong

SAN FRANCISCO - Twitter plans to set up shop in Hong Kong early next year, focusing on ad sales instead of the one-to-many messaging service banned in China.

The San Francisco-based service that has served as a platform for dissent and free speech wants to tap into booming growth in Greater China by selling ads to businesses such as exporters.

US Internet titans Google and Facebook already have similar strategies in place.

"We are not entering China, we're still blocked there," Twitter told AFP on Friday.

"With half of all Internet, mobile and social media users worldwide in Asia today, we see many opportunities across the region."

Through the new office, Twitter will target Hong Kong and Taiwan advertising markets while establishing partnerships and promoting its new Fabric platform for developers to weave the service into applications made for smartphones or tablets.

Twitter has offices in Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney. Earlier this year, the company announced it will open an office in Jakarta.

"Just like Indonesia, Greater China is an important market for us to tap into for our next phase of growth across Asia Pacific," Twitter said.

The company referred to the Asian-Pacific area as "the growth engine for the company." Twitter has been under pressure to ramp up use of the service along with revenue.

Earnings figures showed that the number of people using Twitter monthly climbed 23 per cent to 284 million in the third quarter of this year. More than three quarters of Twitter users reside outside the United States.

Total revenue in the quarter more than doubled to $361 million, but the United States accounted for about two-thirds of the money brought in, according to Twitter.