Users of Twitter in the Philippines need to struggle to get a working connection anymore. Source: Shutterstock/Jirapong Manustrong

Twitter appoints new South Korea CEO, eyes growing user base in country

TWITTER is quickly gaining ground in South Korea, and has hired a new CEO, Shin Chang-seop, in response to the technology-centric country’s burst onto the Twittersphere.

Shin has a background in broadcast journalism, and has previously worked for Hewlett-Packard, Tibco Software and Google Korea, The Korea Times reports.

South Korea is famously technologically forward, so it’s no surprise  a country boasting an Internet penetration rate of nearly 90 percent and a smartphone penetration rate of 71.5 percent in 2017, could so suddenly see its number of daily users spike more than threefold between January and March this year.

The sharp increase in South Korean Twitter usage is largely attributed to the country’s tumultuous political period since the impeachment and jailing of former President Park Geun-hye. After allegations of in-office scandal rocked the country last October, South Korean people took to the streets of Seoul for the now infamous “Candlelight Protest” for months, an event which was well-documented across the micro-blogging platform.

It’s expected the installment of the newest president, Moon Jae-in, as well as the ongoing disputes with regards to Samsung’s heir apparent, will continue to drive Twitter traffic in the East Asian country for some time. As of now, Twitter’s South Korean sales have posted a watermark record for the company, rising by an impressive 80 percent in 2017’s first quarter.

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Shin’s strategy once he enters his new role will be to focus on growing Twitter’s partnerships with local content players, including K-pop artists who command fierce adoration from fans locally as well as abroad, and who represent a significant export for the country, as well as broadcasting opportunities for news and sports outlets. His aim is to continue to grow Twitter’s South Korean user base.

“Recent political and cultural issues have helped sharply increase the number of users,” Shin told The Korea Times. “We will also try to come up with projects for Twitter to become a window for Korea’s main issues.”

When Twitter first opened a branch in South Korea in 2013, Shin worked in the advertising and sales department of the company, before rising to the role of vice-president.