The chief executive of Twitter , Dick Costolo, will meet with officials, academics and students of China on his first visit to the country, signaling the interest of the microblog to enter into a lucrative but prickly market with 600 million users.
Blocked by Chinese censorship since 2009, Twitter described the trip as a personal tour to Costolo, who plans to spend three days in Shanghai starting on Monday (17). He has scheduled a visit to Beijing.
In a statement to Reuters, Twitter declined to comment on what Costolo want to talk with Chinese authorities. “Dick is visiting China because they want to learn more about Chinese culture and the thriving technology sector in the country,” a spokesman for the company said.
Costolo has a scheduled meeting with officials from the Shanghai government, including representatives of the Pilot Free Trade Zone of Shanghai, established in 2013 to test measures of market liberalization, such as less strict rules on currency conversion and foreign direct investment.
Authorities, however, denied news that said restrictions and censorship on the Internet, including blocking Twitter, be relaxed in the Pilot Area.
Any attempt to enter China with the approval of Beijing would be a tricky proposition for Twitter, which prides itself on its reputation to defend freedom of expression and to refute claims of governments by private user data.