Twitter Inc., one of the world's most used social media, plans to drive growth in Korea by zeroing in on localized features and expanding partnerships with companies and celebrities, a company official said Thursday.
"Korea is a place where we think there are a lot of partnership opportunities on very different scales. Obviously, there are opportunities for partnerships with major handset makers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc., who are two key players," Othman Laraki, Twitter's vice president of Growth, International and Revenue, said in a press conference.
"There are also partnership opportunities that we've been exploring around with major Korean Internet companies. Partnerships with Daum Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. are flavors of partnerships we want to continue to increase over time," said Laraki, mentioning ties with South Korea's No. 2 portal operator and third-largest mobile carrier.
The executive said South Korea's depth of Internet penetration and robust online population make the country one of the most important markets for the San Fransisco-based firm.
"It is also a country where we've seen a lot of early adopters that have taken to Twitter in a very energetic way and we don't necessarily see that in all countries."
Laraki also mentioned the potential for Korean culture on Twitter, highlighting how K-pop stars, such as "Gangnam Style" singer Psy, are using the platform to reach a global audience.
The social media company sees six major areas of business in Korea, including handset manufacturers, mobile carriers and media companies, as well as celebrities, which may prod the company to consider tie-ups with talent agencies, added James Kondo, vice president of Marketing Development for the Asia-Pacific region.
In efforts to increase its growth within South Korea, Twitter plans to step up its local operation. The company, which started a Korean-language service in 2011, has set up a local unit and is in the process of recruitment, Laraki said.
He said Twitter also plans to introduce localized features such as a Korean-language version of "Trends," which shows popular topics across different fields in real-time.
Laraki added the company plans to launch a hashtag (#) for the South Korean presidential election in December, which is expected to help commentators as well as the general public more easily see "tweets" about the vote.
South Korean politicians and opinion leaders have been relying on the social media to share their policies on different issues. Ruling party candidate, Park Geun-hye, and main opposition party candidate, Moon Jae-in, each have more than 200,000 Twitter followers, while independent candidate Ahn Chul-soo's camp has also created an account. (Yonhap)