Twitter has growth plan for Australia

Twitter has earmarked Australia as one of a handful of countries in which to expand operations as the US social media network tries to generate more revenue outside its home market.

Twitter has earmarked Australia as one of a handful of countries in which to expand operations as the US social media network tries to generate more revenue outside its home market.

The disclosure was made in documents released for Twitter's planned US stockmarket listing, where the social media group outlined a target to sell as much as $US1 billion in shares.

Last month, Twitter announced that it would go public but had filed confidential papers. Early on Friday, it made its prospectus public through US regulators, providing a first glimpse at its financial health.

The Twitter initial public offering (IPO) is set to make early employees and investors very rich.

Despite clear evidence that it is quickly increasing its revenue from mobile advertising, the company disclosed it had not yet turned a profit, that it had been steadily losing money and that its user growth had been slowing down since the end of last year.

The social network disclosed that it planned to use the ticker symbol TWTR, but it did not specify a stock exchange. The $US1 billion fund-raising was a pro-forma number designed to calculate listing fees.

Evan Williams, one of the company's founders, owns 12 per cent of the company, a stake valued at $US1.2 billion in August, when the company last priced its employee stock options.

Jack Dorsey, another co-founder, owns stock worth about $US483 million. Former News Corp chief operating officer Peter Chernin is a director of the company; his exposure is $US3.6 million worth of stock options.

In regulatory filings Twitter said it planned to increase the size of its sales and marketing support teams in Australia soon.

Other countries earmarked for expansion include Brazil, Ireland and the Netherlands. The expansion was part of a broader plan to increase international advertising revenue, Twitter said.

The filing said Twitter had already achieved significant global scale with more than 215 million monthly active users, including more than 100 million daily active users in nearly every country.

Users created about 500 million tweets every day, it said.

There are nearly 3 million Twitter accounts in Australia. A recent social media report by Telstra unit Sensis found 15 per cent of Australian internet users used Twitter, while penetration for Facebook was more than 90 per cent.

Twitter's impending IPO seizes on the continued growth of social networking and mobile devices, two trends the company has ridden to enormous growth. Founded seven years ago as a side project in a floundering start-up firm, it is now one of the world's biggest public forums, along with Facebook.

The company has turned its simple product, messages no longer than 140 characters, into a global phenomenon. It has found a way to make money through advertising, notably through sponsored tweets that resemble regular users' posts. And much of that advertising revenue is on mobile.

In its filing, Twitter said 75 per cent of its users entered the service through mobile devices during the second quarter and 65 per cent of its revenue came from mobile ads.

Twitter earned far more of its advertising revenue from US users than from non-US users, which analysts said was an area in which it needed to improve.

Revenue for the first half of this year was $US253.6 million, more than double the amount it brought in during the same period last year.

Yet Twitter has been steadily losing money. It lost $US79 million last year and $US69 million in the first six months of 2013, although some analysts said such losses were not unreasonable for a young, fast-growing company.

Twitter has not set a price for its IPO, but when it last set an internal price for employees in August, it valued the stock at $US20.62 a share, suggesting a value of $US9.7 billion.

Related Articles