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CNA: Estimates Say Twitter Accepts “Hundreds of Millions of Dollars a Year” from China for Ads

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that, although China bans 1.4 billion citizens from Twitter, its government spent a great deal of money on global advertising on the Twitter social platform. China has become Twitter’s fastest-growing overseas advertising market and one of its largest revenue generators outside the United States. A review of open government information shows budget documents and propaganda tweets from 2020 to 2022 found that Chinese local governments and the Communist Party propaganda offices in cities, provinces and even in districts across China have been buying a large number of Twitter ads in the U.S. These campaigns are often outsourced by the government to state media, spreading the word about its economic achievements to international audiences, and, with exemptions, circumventing Twitter’s ban on state media advertising. For the first time, it shows how important China has become to Twitter. Twitter is in a tough spot right now, as the company’s U.S. business has stagnated and it still faces investor pressure on growth goals. However, China’s business has become a source of internal conflict at Twitter. One group is inclined to expand its business opportunities as much as possible. The other is concerned about the wisdom of dealing with state-run institutions amid growing tensions between the United States and China. According to sources familiar with this matter, Chinese gaming, e-commerce and technology companies are also major Twitter customers. The overseas advertising that Twitter sells to Chinese customers is estimated to be “hundreds of millions of dollars a year.” Twitter declined to comment on internal discussions and its sales in China.

Source: CNA, September 14, 2022