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Twitter opening Hong Kong office despite China ban

Micro-blogging site Twitter has revealed it will be opening an office in Hong Kong during the first quarter of next year.

The social network has been banned from operating in China since 2009, with the Chinese government concerned that it could help foster dissent and encourage protest among its citizens.

Read more: China blocks Instagram as it looks to censor Hong Kong protests (opens in new tab)

Twitter told the BBC (opens in new tab)that the office will enable the firm to implement the next phase of its Asian expansion programme by targeting greater China.

"Our upcoming Hong Kong office in the first quarter will enable us to pursue strategic opportunities in Greater China, such as China export advertising market, Hong Kong and Taiwan advertising markets, media partnerships, and our new Twitter Fabric integrated with MoPub for mobile developers."

The new location will primarily house sales staff and joins fellow web-based firms Google and Facebook in setting up on the island. Twitter already has offices in Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Sydney and announced plans to set up in Jakarta, Indonesia back in August.

"With half of all Internet, mobile and social media users worldwide in Asia today, we see many opportunities across the region," said a company spokesperson.

Twitter's Hong Kong expansion will come as a welcome distraction from disappointing news regarding its membership figures. While the site did receive a 23 per cent growth in its user base over the third quarter, this coincided with a seven per cent fall in timeline views, suggesting members are becoming more passive in terms of their engagement.

Read more: Twitter shuts down third party user figures (opens in new tab)

The firm also announced that its fourth-quarter revenue figures may fail to meet market expectations of $448 million (£283 million).

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.