Twitter Is Getting Bigger in Asia Amid Slowing User Growth

U.S. Growth Expected to Slow to Single-Digits Next Year

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Twitter HQ.
Twitter HQ. Credit: Marisa Allegra Williams for Twitter

As Twitter struggles to add new users as quickly as it used to, researcher eMarketer is adding an ominous prediction to the mix: Percentage growth in the U.S. will slow to the single digits by next year.

Yet there's a positive side to the data -- Asia. While the number of Twitter users in the U.S. is expected to grow 12% this year, eMarketer projects an increase of 34% in Asia. By 2018, growth in the region is estimated to slow to 15%, though that would still outpace the worldwide average growth of 11%, reported on its Global Tech blog.

The number of the microblogging service's users in the Asia-Pacific region already eclipses those in North America and Western Europe. And Asia's percentage of all Twitter users will only get bigger.

India, Twitter's third-biggest market, is expected to grow 57% this year, while Indonesia, the fourth-biggest, will grow 62%, according to eMarketer. The researchers don't even include data from China, where the service is blocked by the government, though some people access it anyway. Japan, Twitter's second-biggest market, is estimated to increase 17% this year.

Newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi used Twitter and other social media to help topple the long-standing Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Challenger, Rahul Gandhi, didn't have a Twitter account.

Election results
Mr. Modi, who has 4.4 million followers on Twitter, tweeted selfies from the campaign trail and announced his victory in a message that was retweeted 69,000 times.

"India has won. Good days are ahead," Mr. Modi wrote to his followers via a post on Twitter, after official results released May 16 showed his Bharatiya Janata Party winning a landslide victory over the Congress party led by the Gandhi dynasty.

India has an estimated 205 million Internet users, according to Arnab Mitra, managing director of LIQVD Asia, a digital advertising company.

Given where it's adding users, Twitter needs to start making more money outside the U.S., eMarketer said. The San Francisco-based company is still working to expand its sales effort overseas, first by turning on access to its self-serve advertising product, CEO Dick Costolo said in a conference call with investors last month.

People outside the U.S. accounted for 78% of Twitter's active users in the first quarter, yet only 28% of its revenue was from international sources, according to the company.

Meanwhile, total user growth has been slowing. Last month, Twitter said membership in the first quarter rose 25% from a year earlier to 255 million, decelerating from 30% growth in the prior period.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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