Twitter woos Chinese developers via Fabric
TWITTER is finding new ways to get into China, where its microblogging service is blocked.
Through a set of services for mobile developers that the company unveiled on Wednesday at a conference called Flight, Twitter can start business relationships with developers in China whether or not they use the social network, the company said.
Some of the tools are already used by Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba Group Holding and Baidu, Twitter said.
The San Francisco-based company's new developer tools are called Fabric and work in 216 countries and 28 languages.
One new feature, dubbed Digits, lets people sign on to a mobile application using just a phone number. That's useful in emerging markets where people can then bypass the need to have an e-mail address in order to set up an account on a mobile app.
"It's clear that China has a massive mobile economy, and this will help us grow there," Jeff Seibert, Twitter's director of mobile platform, said in an interview on Wednesday.
"When we were building these tools, we knew they had to be global."
By using software tools to foster developer relationships in China, Twitter is echoing the strategy of social network Facebook, which is also blocked in the country. Facebook vice-president Vaughan Smith said in May that the company has "thousands" of application developers in China using its tools, even though its website became inaccessible to consumers there in 2009.