Twitter's Dick Costolo will make his first trip to China, traveling to Shanghai to talk with government officials and academics. The social network has rejected the idea that it would open an office anytime soon in China, as it would tie the company to Chinese law. A Twitter spokesman said: "Dick is visiting China because he wants to learn more about Chinese culture and the country's thriving technology sector." According to Reuters, Costolo will meet Shanghai officials including representatives of the Shanghai free trade zone, established in 2013 to test further market liberalization in China. Officials have previously denied reports that internet censorship and social network access would also be loosened within the trade zone.
At the moment, Twitter is banned in China, blocked by censors since 2009, although there's still a small user-base that uses VPNs and other methods to access the network - tweets in Chinese are estimated to account for only 0.05 percent of all tweets. It could be a response to the competition: in the same week, China's biggest Twitter-like social network, Sina Weibo (with 129.1 million monthly users), announced plans to sell shares on the US stock market.