Twitter's China boss
Kathy Chen quits after eight months
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[January 03, 2017]
YORK/BEIJING (Reuters) - Twitter Inc executive Kathy Chen, brought in to
run Greater China just over eight months ago, has quit, according to a
tweet sent by her over the weekend.
Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009 but is still used through
virtual private networks (VPN).
Domestically, the Sina Weibo microblogging platform and Tencent's WeChat
messaging app are more widely used. But Chinese entities, including the
state news agency Xinhua, use Twitter to reach audiences abroad.
Chen, who previously worked at Microsoft and Cisco, was brought in to
lure more Chinese advertisers to Twitter. At the time, social media
criticism focused on her early work with Chinese state-affiliated
"Now that the Twitter APAC team is working directly with Chinese
advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company," she
Twitter grew its Greater China advertiser base nearly 400 percent over
the past two years, she wrote, making it one of the firm's fastest
growing revenue markets in Asia Pacific (APAC).
Twitter's top Chinese advertisers have included Chinese smartphone maker
Xiaomi, online shopping giant Alibaba Group, white goods producer
Qingdao Haier and flag carrier Air China.
"We remain committed to this market," Chen said, adding the company's
Hong Kong office would remain open.
Twitter confirmed it would retain the Hong Kong office to serve Hong
Kong-based clients, but declined to provide further details on Chen's
QUESTIONING THE VALUE
The end of Chen's relationship with Twitter comes at a time when China
is urging for greater internet curbs.
[to top of second column]
The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New
York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28,
2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
country has condemned foreign social media as a hotbed for fake news and
cyberterrorism, sending ominous signals to Western firms that are eyeing a piece
of the Chinese market, home to the world's largest population of internet users.
China's economy was really on fire it created enough smoke to obscure the
realities of what foreign tech companies were really going to be permitted to do
here," says Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge
" you are getting more companies who are beginning to question the value of the
investments they are making here."
The popular but money-losing microblogging service Twitter has moved its Chinese
ad sales and support activities to its APAC headquarters in Singapore.
Twitter has been undergoing a significant shakeup, and not only in Asia,
announcing in October that it would cut more than nine percent of its global
workforce to keep costs down.
Parminder Singh, managing director for India, Southeast Asia and the Middle
East, left the company in early November.
(Reporting by David Randall, additional reporting by Donny Kwok and Cate Cadell;
Editing by Clara Ferreira-Marques and Himani Sarkar)
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