Our Exclusive Today: Twitter’s Opening an Indonesia Office

Twitter’s global head of revenue, Adam Bain, told me in an interview that the company will be opening an office in Jakarta in the next three to six months.

Our story today is online here.

As I wrote in the piece, the move underscores the importance of fast-growing, emerging markets for Twitter.

About 75% of the company’s 271 million monthly active users are outside the U.S. But Twitter derives a much smaller proportion of its revenue internationally.

Tapping markets like Indonesia — which has 240 million people, many of whom are under the age of 30 — will be crucial for Twitter’s future growth in users and advertising revenue.

Having an office in Jakarta will help Twitter work more closely with advertisers and marketers, Bain said.

Update: Embedded above and online here is video of a chat I had with WSJ Live’s Ramy Inocencio.

Samsung’s Plan to Hook Consumers in Southeast Asia

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Can free Frappuccinos, deals on hotel rooms, and apps offering localized content keep users hooked on Samsung’s smartphones as the company loses market share here in Southeast Asia?

The South Korean electronics giant is betting that the answer is yes.

That’s the focus of a story I wrote that ran on the front page of the WSJ Asia and in the U.S. paper yesterday.

You can find it online here.

In addition, embedded above and online here is a WSJ Live video in which I talk a bit more about the issue.

And here’s a separate post on our Digits blog about some companies that are gaining ground at Samsung’s expense: local smartphone makers little known outside the region, like Advan Digital, Smartfren, Ninetology and Cherry Mobile.

Two Outstanding MH17 Features

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I’m back in Singapore after helping with our Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 coverage from Kuala Lumpur.

Here are two especially great features, produced by my WSJ colleagues, that I wanted to point out:

First, there’s this moving story from Sunday about parents — whose only child was aboard Flight 17 — visiting the crash site in Ukraine:

Angela Rudhart-Dyczynski slipped off her shoes, covered her feet in white socks and crunched through a field tinged with the sick-sweet smell of death to reach a wing of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

She and her husband arrived Saturday from Australia after an exhausting three-day journey that left her feet too swollen for shoes. They braved this war zone in search of a lost passenger: Fatima, their only child.

“We’re standing here at the wing in the field,” Jerzy Dyczynski, a cardiologist, said into his phone, as the wind blew. “This is where we thought she was sitting. We’re trying to picture her.”

Among the locusts and wildflowers, images of their daughter, a 25-year-old aerospace engineering graduate student at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands who had been on her way home for a visit, overwhelmed them.

They knew where they were, but they still couldn’t believe it. “We’re lost,” Mr. Dyczynski said.

Second, don’t miss this interactive feature with a map showing how, exactly, the plane came apart and where its wreckage was strewn over Ukraine.

Above is a screen shot; click through for more.

Me on WSJ Live Talking about Malaysia Airlines Flight 17

Online here and embedded above is a video segment I did with my WSJ colleague Ramy Inocencio earlier today.

I’m here in Kuala Lumpur helping with our coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which crashed Thursday in the east Ukraine region of Donetsk — just a few months after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

For updates, keep an eye on our home page, our streaming updates page, and follow me on Twitter.

Stay tuned.

‘Hunger Games’ Salute, Facebook outage and more: a Belated Roundup of Thai Coup Stories

As I mentioned in my previous post, I traveled to Bangkok to help out with our coverage following the May 22 military coup.

Here are links to a few of the stories I worked on:

And, perhaps most memorably:

The lede:

Anti-coup protesters in Thailand are adopting a symbol of resistance from a science fiction movie in which citizens struggle against a tyrannical government in a dark, dystopian future.

A few dozen demonstrators on Sunday gathered in a flash-mob style protest at a Bangkok shopping mall, where many held anti-army signs and raised their hands in a three fingered salute aimed at nearby troops.

The gestures were similar to those used by heroine Katniss Everdeen and other characters in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” a globally popular movie based on one of Suzanne Collins’s hit trilogy of books. Western films and other popular culture are widely consumed in Thailand.

To hear me discussing the three-fingered “Hunger Games” salute, see the WSJ Live video embedded above and online here.

And finally, for more on the Facebook issue, see this story I wrote just a few days ago:

My story on BlackBerry’s turn-around push in Indonesia

A chance encounter in Jakarta with legendary Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was merely an exhilarating byproduct of my recent Indonesia trip.

I traveled there to cover the debut of BlackBerry’s new low-cost, Foxconn-made smartphone, which it released in Indonesia as part of a high-stakes turnaround plan.

The story includes snippets from my interview with Chief Executive John Chen, and begins:

BlackBerry Ltd.’s latest stab at keeping its storied brand alive is starting here, at a launch event for its $191 smartphone, in the capital city of Indonesia.

The phone maker based in Waterloo, Ontario, unveiled its latest handset, dubbed the Z3, before several hundred people in a packed five-star hotel ballroom on Tuesday. An Indonesian hip-hop trio warmed up the crowd before BlackBerry’s new chief executive, John Chen, took the stage to introduce the phone.

The Z3 represents a number of firsts for BlackBerry, which recently replaced its chief executive and revamped its corporate strategy, after failing to find a buyer for its struggling business.

I also wrote a post with more color from the launch event.

How I’ve helped with our Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 coverage

Yesterday marked three weeks since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing.

For the latest news, keep an eye on our streaming MH370 updates.

Meanwhile, I spent some in time Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere helping with our coverage, and wanted to share a few of the stories I worked on.

First, I helped out with an in-depth narrative piece telling the stories of some of the people on board on the flight.

The story begins:

As night fell last Friday in Kuala Lumpur, businessman Philip Wood hurried to gather his bags for a trip to Beijing. He had confused the dates, but his girlfriend in China texted him to make sure he got on the plane.

A group of Chinese artists capped off their exhibition at a local cultural center in Malaysia’s capital city with a day of sightseeing and a banquet lunch of duck soup, fried shrimp and pork in brown sauce.

Norli Akmar Hamid finished packing for her long-overdue honeymoon and posted a photograph on Facebook of her cat trying to sneak into her suitcase. The cat chewed the lining near the administrative assistant’s neatly folded blue T-shirt and beige towel.

All of them boarded Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.08% Flight 370 late Friday night and flew away shortly after midnight in the tropical night sky toward Beijing. Soon after, the widebody Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 people vanished from radar screens.

The flight manifest included Americans, Australians, Indians and passengers from a host of other countries. There were more than 150 Chinese on board, many of them tourists who belong to China’s burgeoning middle class. A country between Thailand and Singapore, Malaysia has emerged in recent years as a major transit hub and tourist destination for globe-trotting travelers.

Flight 370 took off carrying 239 life stories, each filled with moments big and small, ordinary lives soon to be swept up in a tragic mystery. Now, as the hopes for a miracle fade by the day, memory transforms the random and routine into the meaningful and momentous.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

Separately, I wrote a short piece on pilots and aviation buffs sharing their musings on Flight 370 via blogs, Facebook, Tweets, and more.

I also helped with a story about chaotic scenes as Chinese relatives of missing passengers were separated from the media by security personnel.

In the video embedded at the top of this post and on YouTube here, I discussed the scene and some video I shot.

And finally, in the video embedded above and on YouTube here, I participated in a live Google Hangout with our Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Patrick McDowell, and aviation expert Harro Ranter to answer readers’ questions about Flight 370.

Stay tuned.

And if you don’t already, follow me on Twitter, as I’ve been posting frequently Flight 370-related updates there.

Belatedly, my story on Singapore startups

I’ve been remiss in sharing some of my recent stories here.

In case you you missed it last month, I wrote an in-depth piece on Singapore’s increasingly lively startup scene.

Click through for an interactive feature on some Singapore-specific apps and a rundown of some local tech companies — and some potential challenges to the industry.

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(The story is for WSJ subscribers only — if you don’t already, subscribe! — but here’s a non-paywalled blog post introducing the piece.)

Next up: How I’ve helped out with Malaysia Flight 370 coverage. Stay tuned…

Our Story on WhatsApp in Asia

Quick note to share a WSJ story I helped out on Thursday about challenges Facebook may face in Asia following its acquisition of WhatsApp:

Facebook Inc. ‘s $19 billion deal for WhatsApp in part is a move to bolster the U.S. company’s position abroad.

But in Asia—which has the world’s largest, and possibly most avid, social-media audience—Facebook still has its work cut out for it.

That is because in Asia, even more than on Facebook’s home turf, the big, growing social-media market is on mobile phones. And if Facebook wants to be as dominant on smartphones in Asia as it has been on personal computers, WhatsApp will need to lure users away from three popular apps in the region: Naver Corp.’s Line, Tencent Holdings Ltd. ‘s WeChat and Kakao Corp.’s Kakao Talk.

Visit WSJD for more stories on the deal.