Twitter's China boss has quit after just 8 months


Twitter executive Kathy Chen, brought in to run Greater China just over eight months ago, has quit.

It's the latest in a string of top executive departures for the struggling social network.

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment.

Twitter has been blocked in China since 2009, although it is still used through virtual private networks (VPNs). Domestically, the Sina Weibo microblogging platform and Tencent's WeChat messaging app are more widely used. But Chinese organisations - including the state news agency Xinhua - do use Twitter to reach audiences abroad.

Chen, who had worked with Microsoft and Cisco , was brought in to lure more Chinese advertisers to the platform. At the time, the company was criticised for her hiring by democracy activists because of her links to the People's Liberation Army and the security services, The Guardian reported.


"Now that the Twitter APAC team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company," she wrote in a tweet announcing her departure.

Twitter grew its Greater China advertiser base nearly 400 percent over the past two years, she wrote, making it one of the company's fastest growing revenue markets in Asia Pacific. Its Chinese advertisers have included Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, online shopping giant Alibaba Group, white goods producer Qingdao Haier, and Air China.

"We remain committed to this market," Chen said, adding the company's Hong Kong office would remain open.

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.

Just before Christmas, the news broke that the social network's chief technology officer, Adam Messinger, and its VP of product, Josh McFarland, are both leaving the company. They're the latest in an exodus of top executives: Adam Bain, Twitter's COO, stepped down in November. And Richard Alfonsi, VP of ad sales, jumped ship at the start of December for Stripe.


Twitter is struggling. The social network is barely growing, it is losing money, has a reputation for harassment and abuse on its platform, has been through rounds of layoffs, and its stock is far, far below its giddy heights of $70+ (£57) in early 2014.

The company explored a possible sale earlier in 2016, but it fell through - with potential buyers Salesforce and Disney reportedly put off in part because of Twitter's harassment problem.