Our Exclusive Friday: Twitter’s Opening a Hong Kong Office

As I wrote here:

Twitter Inc. plans to open an office in Hong Kong early next year to serve greater China and tap advertising revenues from Chinese companies that are quickly expanding, an executive said.

Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, the Americas and emerging markets, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that the office will mainly house sales staff, though he declined to say how many. The office is set to open in the first quarter of 2015.

“The real main focus of the office will be sales,” Mr. Rao said. “Building sales capability to work with agencies and advertisers domestically in Hong Kong and Taiwan and those Chinese advertisers looking to go global.”

Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009 due to government concerns it could be used to organize protests. Asked if plans for the Hong Kong office signaled Twitter’s eagerness to enter China should the government lift its restriction, Mr. Rao said, “We would love to have Twitter” reach people “everywhere in the world including China.” But, he added, “Unfortunately, we can’t. That’s not our choice. We don’t control that decision.”

Click through to read the whole thing.

The story was picked up by financial newswires, various news organizations and several tech blogs.

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.

My Q&A with Twitter’s VP of Emerging Markets, Shailesh Rao

2014 07 21shailesh

It’s online here and in the print edition of today’s Wall Street Journal Asia.

It begins:

Shailesh Rao has one of the most important jobs at Twitter Inc.: overseeing the company’s revenue in emerging markets.

Eight months after the messaging service’s initial public offering, the San Francisco-based company is betting that populous countries in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere can help it stem slowing user growth in the U.S. and boost sales.

Twitter’s revenue, most of which comes from advertising, more than doubled in the first quarter to $250.5 million. But the company, which was founded in 2006, has yet to make a profit. Some 78% of Twitter’s more than 255 million users are located outside the U.S., but the company derives just 28% of its revenue internationally.

Mr. Rao is trying to change that. The 42-year-old joined Twitter in 2012 after seven years at Internet search giant Google Inc., where he ran the company’s Asia display advertising business.

In an interview at Twitter’s offices in Singapore, Mr. Rao, who was born in Toronto and grew up in Pittsburgh, discussed the company’s goals for growth, how double-majoring in history and economics helps him on the job, and why yoga makes him a better manager.

Twitter accounts for following snowstorm Nemo as it approaches NYC

A big snowstorm, Nemo*, is now making landfall in the Northeast.

I just Tweeted some NYC-specific Twitter accounts worth following, and thought I’d share them here as well:

*Storm nomenclature details are here.

More on Bangkok’s Tweeting Motorcycle Taxi Driver

A quick follow up on my post yesterday highlighting the BBC video report on Dejchat Phuangket, a Bangkok motorcycle taxi driver and social media maven.

Thanks to Byron at Coconuts Bangkok for getting in touch to say that his site has also run items on Khun Dejchat.

The first post provides an overview of Dejchat’s work following the Valentine’s Day explosions.

The second is a longer interview with Dejchat. One interesting tidbit on offer here: The story points out that he created an interesting Web site about his hometown in Sisaket province. (Warning: The site employs auto-loading luk thung music!)

BBC Story on Bangkok’s Tweeting Motorcycle Taxi Driver

2012 03 19 motorcycle taxi twitterer

The BBC has a video report today on Dejchat Phuangket, a Bangkok motorcycle taxi driver who has become renowned for his blogging and Tweeting:

His mode of transport is one of Bangkok’s most basic – the motorbike. But it is Dejchat Phuangket’s command of cutting edge technology that has turned him into Thailand’s most famous taxi driver.

For two years, Dejchat tweeted and blogged about his daily life.

Whether it be the contents of his lunch or the state of the traffic, his wry observations and a steady stream of photos kept his small band of loyal followers amused.

Then on Valentines Day the news came to Dejchat’s part of central Bangkok.

An explosion partially destroyed a house being rented by a group of Iranians.

As the men fled the damaged building they threw explosives at a taxi and one of the men had his legs blown off. Almost immediately the blasts were linked to attempted attacks the day before on Israeli diplomats in Georgia and India.

As news of the explosions began to circulate, Dejchat was already on the scene.

“A foreigner was carrying a bag and an explosion happened,” he tweeted under his username motorcyrubjang. “He lost his legs but is still alive at Sukhumvit 71.”

What’s more, Dejchat — who you can follow at @motorcyrubjang — may just have the coolest Twitter profile page photo montage ever. (Click through to see it.)

(All emphasis mine.)

(Image: BBC.)

Thailand Government and Twitter Censorship

The AP reports today:

Thailand is welcoming Twitter’s new policy to censor tweets in specific nations where the content might break laws.

Technology minister Anudith Nakornthap said Monday the new policy was a “constructive” development. The Southeast Asian country routinely blocks websites with content deemed offensive to the Thai monarchy.

Jon Russell has more at The Next Web:

Twitter’s controversial move towards enabling the censorsing of tweets has gained the backing of its first international government, after authorities in Thailand publicly endorsed the introduction.

And The Bangkok Post ran a story on the news today.

More to come on this topic, I’m sure.

(All emphasis mine.)

Off topic: “RE TWEET ME” T-shirt for Sale in Bangkok

I wanted to share this cell phone picture of a T-shirt I spotted at a market in Bangkok’s Silom neighborhood last night.

Yes, it says “RE TWEET ME.”

Further proof — as if any were needed — of Twitter’s global influence.

2011 12 05 retweet me T shirt bangkok

Naturally, I Tweeted the pic, and Twitter user @_JustMelissa posted the excellent image below in response.

She wrote:

@newley love it! It’s like this one. I had to stalk this kid all the way down Silom for this picture.

Af0d4zTCQAAV0ki jpg large

So there you have it: Bangkok’s Silom ‘hood is a hotbed for Twitter-focused sartorial irony. Who knew?