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Though banned in China, Twitter will open Hong Kong office to up revenue

The idea is for the company to work with firms in China and surrounding areas and boost revenue in the fast-growing region.

Twitter is making a move into Asia with a new office in Hong Kong. Seen here: the home office in San Francisco. James Martin/CNET

Twitter has its sights set on China and surrounding areas to build out its advertising revenue, the company has confirmed in a recent interview.

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal in a piece published late Thursday, Shailesh Rao, Twitter's vice president of Asia Pacific, the Americas, and emerging markets, said that in the first quarter of 2015 the company will open a new office in Hong Kong that will focus on expanding advertising revenue in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Rao declined to say how many people would be employed at the office.

It might seem rather odd that Twitter is opening up to China. The service has been blocked in the country since 2009 and no signs have indicated that will change. Rao told the Journal that his focus in China, specifically, will be to identify advertisers that want to target consumers around the world, since Chinese consumers are blocked from the service.

It's widely believed that a key component in Twitter's growth over the next several years will need to come internationally. The company has yet to generate a profit and announced that it lost $175 million during the third quarter, up from its $65 million loss in the same period in 2013. Revenue, however, more than doubled during the period.

Chief among Twitter's problems is finding a way to generate a profit on the majority of its users. While 77 percent of its user-base resides outside the US, two-thirds of its revenue is generated domestically. The move to Hong Kong and into China could help the company change that.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment.