Twitter has opened an office in Hong Kong, despite the social network being banned in mainland China, meaning its content and ads won’t reach most of the country’s population.
Facebook, which is also banned in China, has employed a similar method of increasing revenue in the country: instead of targeting social media users, it targets businesses.
The new Twitter office will be headed by Twitter executive Peter Greenberger. The social media giant’s plan is to market advertising space to Chinese companies who want to market to an international audience.
“We’re capitalising on this growing trend where the most ambitious, entrepreneurial and successful Chinese companies want to go global, and we believe that Twitter is an essential way for them to connect and engage with the world,” Twitter’s vice president for Asia Pacific, Shailesh Rao, told the South China Morning Post.
Beijing officials say these bans are necessary to maintain social order. Twitter has been largely credited for the success of the Arab spring, a movement which toppled many governments in the Middle East including Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, and even pushed Syria into civil war.
Despite the ban, Chinese companies including Huawei and the state-owned Xinhua news agency use Twitter’s microblogging service to reach a global audience.
This is the second Asian office Twitter has opened this month, with the first being an office in Jakarta, Indonesia.