Twitter inches closer to Sydney: Why the tech giant is opening an Australian office

By Patrick Stafford
Monday, 14 January 2013

More signs are appearing that social network Twitter will open an office in Australia, with deputy Opposition leader Julie Bishop confirming the move after a visit to the company's headquarters.


The comment comes just weeks after reports the Twitter executive team flew into Australia to meet with major media organisations and further investigate its plans to open up an Australian office.


Such a move would see Twitter join other major tech companies in operating an Australian location, including Facebook and Yelp.


Bishop has told Fairfax she believes the move is "imminent".


"That's what they told us today — they'd be opening an office in Sydney," she said. "Facebook has a presence in Australia and it's clear Twitter is about to establish one."


The location of Twitter's future office has been the source of a friendly dispute between tech aficionados based in Sydney and Melbourne, with residents in Melbourne taking up a hashtag campaign to convince the business to set up shop.


Users have created the hashtags #twitter4melbourne and #twittercometomelbourne, with users listing reasons why the business should come to the city.


The company's location-specific push also comes after the business started an @twitterau account last October. Soon afterwards, popular Australian accounts started receiving verification with Twitter's own blue and white tick.


At that time, Twitter executives took part in a media event with local sports and entertainment personalities. Word of the eventual expansion to Melbourne spread.


The move makes good sense for Twitter, which will attempt to integrate the service with media and sporting events. But we think there may be a few more reasons why Twitter should establish an Australian presence:


1. Small business sales


Twitter has been attempting to boost its ad revenue for years now, and drawing in a small business presence is a good way to expand that plan. Establishing a foothold in Australia would be a great start to getting SMEs involved in the platform.


While Australian businesses haven't been too bad in getting the word out on Twitter, a local presence would help.


2. Plugged in to the tech scene


Sydney is developing a growing tech scene, and some of the industry's leading businesses have started there. The amount of investment being directed at Australian companies is evidence of our importance.


Establishing an office here would enable Twitter to connect with these companies. The business picks up start-ups every now and again. The possibility of an Australian business being bought by Twitter may increase with a local presence.


3. More consistent contact


Here at SmartCompany we've pointed out how difficult the local offices of tech companies are to get in contact with. Twitter setting up a local office may not solve every problem, but it would at least give users a local point of contact when things do go wrong.


4. Government cooperation


The federal government has had a sour relationship with Twitter, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy saying the business was "arrogant" after attempting to contact the business about ways to help stop cyber bullying.


Twitter was the subject of a campaign led by Sydney's Daily Telegraph to stamp out cyber bullying.


Having Twitter become a permanent part of the Australian tech scene would no doubt encourage a better relationship with the government – especially with the Department of Communications.


This story first appeared on SmartCompany.

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