Twitter China’s top executive quits after eight months in charge

The head of Twitter’s Greater China operations has announced her departure from the social media firm

  • By Emily Cashen | Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Kathy Chen's departure continues Twitter's move to oust senior executives as part of a major restructuring plan

Kathy Chen, Twitter’s Managing Director for Greater China, has left the company after just eight months at the helm. Chen’s departure comes amid a global restructuring initiative by the microblogging platform, which has seen several high-profile executives leave the firm.

Chen confirmed her exit from the company in a series of tweets posted to her personal account on December 31. “Now that the Twitter Apac team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company”, one tweet read.

“I will take some time off to recharge, study about different cultures and then pursue more international business opportunities”, she wrote.

In addition to announcing her departure, Chen’s 12-tweet statement maintained that Twitter remains dedicated to expanding its presence in Greater China, and will be keeping its Hong Kong office open despite a restructuring of its Asian operations.

While Twitter is officially blocked in mainland China, the social network has a thriving Chinese-language user base, and allows Chinese advertisers to connect with a global audience. In April 2016, Twitter hired Chen with the intention of further cultivating its Asian advertiser base.

Twitter remains dedicated to expanding its presence in Greater China

According to Chen, Twitter has successfully grown its Greater China advertiser base by nearly 400 percent over the past two years, making it one of the company’s fastest growing revenue markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, Air China and electronics company Xiaomi are among the big-name Chinese brands that have run advertising campaigns with Twitter.

While Twitter has had some success partnering with Chinese advertisers, the firm’s Asian operations have recently been tested by a significant reorganisation initiative. In October 2016, the social media site announced that it would be cutting nine percent of its global workforce in order to keep costs down.

In the months following this announcement, a string of high-profile executives have left the company. In November, Twitter’s Chief Operating Officer, Adam Bain, parted ways with the firm, while Chief Technology Officer Adam Messinger quit shortly after in December. With no replacement currently in place to take over Chen’s position, Twitter’s future in Greater China now looks unclear.

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