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ONLINE social networking service Twitter officially opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore on Thursday with a plan to expand operations and add more than 100 new jobs over the next few years.
Since its opening in a serviced office in 2013, Twitter's Singapore-based team has grown to 80 staff in less than two years and moved to a new office space amid the company's plans to accommodate more than double its workforce.
The expansion of the Singapore office is in response to the growing demand from users, partners and advertisers across the Asia-Pacific region. The new regional headquarters will be home to a wide range of business functions, including sales, partnerships, marketing, human resource, finance, user services, legal, policy, and trust and safety.
In addition to the #RealTimeLab in its new office, there are plans to hire technical staff, including data analytics professionals, product specialists, engineering and technology support, to create a regional hub for live, digital innovations in Singapore.
The #RealTimeLab is a social media centre of excellence to create, execute and share live Twitter campaigns, analytics and data visualisations with customers, partners and the community. In addition, key cultural moments from around the region are highlighted, including national elections, sporting events, entertainment shows and disaster responses.
Twitter's vice-president of Asia-Pacific, Americas and Emerging Markets, Shailesh Rao, noted that the Asia-Pacific region is already one of the largest and fastest-growing for Twitter today.
"There still is enormous potential to show people, partners and advertisers the value of our platform, from Japan to India to Australia. . . We're capitalising on this growth in 2015 by making strategic investments across the region - from opening new offices and aggressively hiring staff, to acquiring companies and building local product experiences," he said.
During a recent visit to Singapore, Twitter's CEO, Dick Costolo, had told The Business Times that 77 per cent of Twitter accounts are from outside of the United States. "We have a goal to reach all the connected and digital users in the planet . . . it is certainly the case that the vast majority of them will be outside of the US and that's one of the reasons I'm out here because Asia is such a vital market for us," he said. "The population here are so digitally sophisticated and younger in places like Indonesia and India. I'm spending much more of our time outside the US."
Aliza Knox, Twitter's Asia-Pacific managing director of online sales, added that the office opening here is a milestone in Twitter's history.
"We're hiring the best and brightest to take our company to the next phase of regional growth as well as create a hub of innovation in Singapore," she said. "As one of the top technology platforms in the world today, we were looking for a regional base in a pro-business environment with other regional leaders and customers, easy connectivity to the rest of the region, and a world-class talent pool across multiple functions - Singapore was the clear choice for us."
Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said he looked forward to Twitter's continued support towards national efforts in media literacy and Internet safety, and as Singapore embarks on bold moves towards a Smart Nation.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Twitter for participating in our private sector-led Infocomm Media Masterplan (IMM) over the past two years," he added.
At the event, Dr Yaacob launched the new headquarters with a Tweet.
Mr Rao noted that the new office was designed with both Twitter and Singapore in mind. "There are elements of Singapore's heritage incorporated throughout the interior design, including Peranakan wall and floor tiles, nostalgic old-style doors and windows, 1970s wall grilles, bricks and furniture," he said.