Twitter is signaling its intention to get stuck into the Australian market with the opening this week of its first office down under. The new premises has been operating since last month, though this week marks its official opening. Heading up the Sydney-based operation will be former Google Asia-Pacific executive Karen Stocks.
Stocks has some six years experience in the digital industry with previous jobs at Google-owned YouTube and Vodafone Australia.
Stocks’ own presence on the microblogging service she’s about to work for has been on the light side, with just 26 tweets in the 16 months she’s been on the site, though the fact that she’s following more than 100 users could mean she’s more of a ‘listener’ than a tweeter.
Her most recent post, on Monday, said, “Very exciting day, I will be joining the Twitter team in Australia as Managing Director!”
Speculation has been growing about Twitter opening a base in the antipodean nation ever since it launched its own Twitter account in October last year “for covering all things Australian”. The account currently has just over 26,500 followers.
There are reportedly two million Twitter users in Australia – population 22.3 million – with the new local headquarters tasked with building on the figure over time.
The former Google executive will also be working to increase revenue from advertisers via its promoted products, which include, for example, paid-for tweets that appear in users’ timelines, as well as promoted accounts and promoted trends.
Speaking to The Australian about Twitter’s potential in the country, Shailesh Rao, Twitter’s vice-president of Asia-Pacific, Latin America and emerging markets, said, “We think there’s growth opportunities across every aspect of what we do across Australia.
“We’re focused on trying to spur deeper engagement and more usage on the user side as well as on working with agencies and brands to help them get the most value out of Twitter as a platform where their brands can participate in those conversations.“
The San Francisco-based company, which has around 200 million active users globally and offices in several other countries including Brazil, Ireland and Japan, is forecast to generate around a billion dollars in revenue in 2014, and is also eyeing a flotation somewhere down the road.