Twitter focuses on Asia after hiring one of Google Asia’s key figures

Twitter focuses on Asia after hiring one of Google Asia’s key figures

Twitter has signalled its intention to grow its business and revenues in Asia after appointing the executive who headed up Google’s display advertising in the region as vice president of international operations, according to India’s Economic Times.

February 3 was Canadian-born Shailesh Rao‘s final day at Google, where he served as managing director of media and platforms across Asia Pacific and managing director of Google India. In his dual role, Rao managed the company’s display advertising business across the continent and headed up operations in India.

Twitter told Business Week that Rao will come on board later this year to work on the advertising side of its business, but it is unclear exactly what his day-to-day responsibilities and markets will be. The firm is moving to develop its presence and revenue outside of North America and key European markets, having most recently introduced a feature to help it comply with censorship, an introduction that was welcomed in parts of Asia last week.

Twitter’s advertising is predicted to triple over the next two years to hit $540 million by 2014, according to research from eMarketer. Bringing in a seasoned Asia veteran like Rao, who has experience growing ad revenues in the region, is clearly a key move to boost its presence and increase revenue in new and potentially lucrative markets.

The move is also likely to see Twitter tap into Rao’s experience in India. With the service blocked in China, with little sign of anything changing soon, India’s 1.17 billion population makes it the next biggest country in Asia and a logical target for Twitter.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the departure of Rao in a statement that was released on Friday:

We thank Shailesh for his fantastic contributions to Google, and Google India in particular, and wish him the best in his future endeavours.

Recently voted ‘Internet professional of the year’ by the Internet Mobile Association Of India (IAMAI), Rao first joined Google in March 2005 as director of local search based out of its its Mountain View office.

During his time with the company, his projects included launching Google Maps and Google Earth in a number of emerging markets, before he moved to head up operations in India in 2007.

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