On a hunt for more global engagement and in turn an increase in international revenue, Twitter is upping its focus on Asia. It has gone on a hiring spree that has seen it staff five key marketing and communications positions over the past two months.
The company previously focused the bulk of its energy and attention in the region on Japan — a country where it is well established but still struggling to monetize — and its new Australia office, but now it appears to be increasing its efforts in India, Southeast Asia and the rest of the region.
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Marketing Interactive reports that the newly listed firm has hired three new recruits for its Singapore office this month — Freddie Covington left Microsoft to become international marketing director, Dickson Seow exited Google to head up communications in Asia, while ex-Samsung staffer Christel Quek is now regional content lead for Asia, Middle East and Africa. Twitter also hired an Asia brand strategy and advocacy lead and a managing director of sales in November 2013.
Why all the new faces? Twitter has a lot of potential to grow in Asia, since its scaling there to date has largely been organic.
The company has nearly 220 million users who are based outside of the US, yet it made just $53 million (or 17 recent of its total revenue) last year from overseas activity.
There are few indicators of Twitter’s global reach, but the fact that Japanese (16 percent ), Malay (8 percent) and Thai (1 percent) are among Twitter’s most used languages, indicates that Asia accounts for a sizable chunk of users, while the near-universal adoption of Facebook (which counts Asia as its largest region) shows the potential for social networks.
As Asia is culturally and geographically fragmented, it calls for a greater level of planning than a single market like the US, and an adoption of a country-by-country policy.
We are unlikely to see consumer campaigns but, by working with large brands and advertisers, Twitter can allow established companies to do the leg work — both in terms of earning them advertising money and helping increase user numbers through campaigns.
Twitter already has a sales and marketing team in Singapore, helmed by former Googler Aliza Knox. We haven’t seen the same level of engagement with brands, celebrities and visible players in Asia as has happened in the US and Europe, so we can expect Twitter to double down on efforts with ‘influencers’.
Twitter is currently hiring for more than 20 positions in Asia — across both Japan and the wider continent. Notable roles include a TV partnerships vacancy in India, and a campaign manager for Southeast Asia, MENA & India. Interestingly, it looks to have filled the “Head of Media Partnerships – Greater China” role that was advertised late last year.
Further reading: Twitter and its plans for China