| SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO May 27 Twitter Inc's
messaging service will have close to 400 million global users by
2018, mostly in Asia, Latin American and the Middle East,
consulting firm eMarketer estimated on Tuesday, far short of the
1 billion once expected.
The new study by the digital advertising industry research
firm suggests that Twitter's user growth will have plateaued in
major developed markets within five years.
By 2018, user growth in Twitter's key markets of the United
States and Japan will have steadily declined to 6.4 and 6.1
percent, respectively, while its global user count will have
reached just 386.9 million users, eMarketer said.
The United States accounts for three-quarters of Twitter's
revenue, the messaging service disclosed last year.
Once championed by its Silicon Valley boosters as "the next
Facebook," capable of reaching more than 1 billion users,
Twitter has instead grappled with stagnant user growth in its
first two quarters as a public company, with its stock trading
near its post-IPO low.
But eMarketer said the social media company has "significant
potential" in emerging markets, with user growth forecast to
accelerate in Asia. India and Indonesia are primed to surpass
the United Kingdom with the third- and fourth-largest Twitter
populations this year, the research firm said.
Twitter, which eMarketer said could see nearly 60 percent
user growth in India this year, played a role in the recently
Analysts consider Twitter's reliance on developing countries
as a weakness, because digital advertising prices remain far
lower in emerging markets.
One unknown factor that could skew the forecasts is a change
in Twitter's status in China, where Twitter and Facebook Inc
are banned, eMarketer said.
Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo visited China for the
first time in March and met with local government officials. The
company dismissed the likelihood of launching operations there,
and the Chinese state media downplayed the visit.
(Reporting by Gerry Shih; Editing by Richard Chang)