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Twitter's next big bet in Asia: C-Pop live streaming

Twitter has been part of major conversations around the world in its ten years of existence, with 140 character tweets ranging from historic elections to star-studded Oscar selfies to live cricket tournaments.

Now, the company is focusing on a new, growing phenomenon, according to one of its executives: live video streaming.

Rishi Jaitly, vice president for Asia Pacific, Middle East and North Africa at Twitter, spoke to CNBC on Wednesday at a fireside chat at RISE 2016, a technology conference in Hong Kong, where he said the platform was "built for the LIVE experiences."

In 2015, Twitter acquired the live streaming app Periscope which lets users broadcast live or view live content from anywhere. For example, a student in New York could watch a live video about a public protest in an Asian country halfway across the globe.

Better internet connectivity through WiFi and 4G in Asia made the region ready for live video streaming, said Jaitly.

Towards the end of May, Twitter announced a partnership with KKBOX, one of Asia's leading music streaming services, to bring Chinese pop music (C-Pop) to a wider, global audience.

KKBOX will post live content onto its own Twitter account, including weekly Q&A sessions with artists, autographed video clips from musicians and producers and live broadcasting of C-Pop concerts via Periscope.

"It's the mainstreaming of Periscope," said Jaitly. "What they realize is today's priority is audience. What they're trying to do is build and engage an audience that has affinity and loyalty. Monetization and all that will come [later]."

The service received major attention in mid-2015, when it delivered a severe blow to paid broadcasters at the so-called "fight of the century" – a boxing match in Las Vegas between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

Users attending the fight in person used live broadcasting apps such as Periscope, and its competitor Meerkat, to live stream the fight to scores of viewers around the world.

It sparked a debate over broadcasting rights to materials that some users were paying for, while others could access them for free over Periscope.

"Like anything with the internet, these questions are always there from the beginning from rights holders who have built businesses around these content experiences," said Jaitly, adding Twitter worked promptly to address these concerns.

But he also added the potential of the application saw many big companies beginning to embrace it.


This report has been updated to reflect that the #OnlyOnTwitter hashtag won't be used for KKBOX's live Twitter content.

CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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