While questions about Twitter’s user growth have grown since the company went public last year, a report from eMarketer released today indicated that the company has not even begun to scratch the surface of its potential growth in developing countries in both Latin America and Asia. According to its research, eMarketer says that more than 40 percent of Twitter users will be located in the Asia-Pacific region by 2018.
In analyzing worldwide growth numbers, eMarketer expects the company to grow 24.4 percent this year to 227.5 million total users, and then increase another 18.5 percent to 269.6 million in 2015. With that steady growth, the platform will have nearly 400 million users by 2018.
The sources of that long-term growth are mainly developing markets that are coming online and relying on Twitter for communication, including but not limited to Indonesia, India, Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. The report doesn’t factor in any influence from China, as the service remains banned in that country, but eMarketer says it could ultimately have a significant impact on growth over time. Microblogging is popular in the country thanks to Sina Weibo, which coincidentally released an IPO to raise an underwhelming $285.6 million in the U.S. in April.
The focus on emerging mobile markets isn’t new for Twitter — it has long been known for its usefulness as a tool in developing countries across the world. But the importance of user growth and expansion into international markets means that the company will have a solid foundation to develop an international ad revenue stream. Quickly establishing ads across the world could help the company finally become profitable, a challenge that many investors are still keeping an eye on.
However, not all of eMarketer’s statistics were positive: The report found that Twitter may be over-reporting its monthly active user numbers. Researchers determined that Twitter had about 183 million active monthly users at the end of 2013, because they “rely heavily on consumer survey data to weed out business accounts, multiple accounts for individual users and other sources of potential double-counting.” That figure is much lower than the 255 million Twitter reported on its Q1 earnings report, and shows how nebulous Twitter’s numbers can be.