Twitter’s China director tweets she is moving on, less than nine months after joining platform

Kathy Chen tweets it is ‘right time’ for her to leave company

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 December, 2016, 10:29pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 January, 2017, 12:03pm

Kathy Chen, the managing director of Greater China for microblogging service Twitter, tweeted on Saturday that she was ready to move on – less than nine months after she was appointed to her current position.

In 12 separate tweets, Chen said Twitter’s China operation was one of the company’s fastest-growing revenue markets in the Asia-Pacific region, and that its advertiser base has grown nearly 400 per cent over the past two years.

“Now that the Twitter APAC team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” she tweeted. “I will take some time off to recharge, study about different cultures and then pursue more international business opportunities.”

In another tweet, she wrote, “I wish Twitter all the best as it is a fantastic platform for everyone to express themselves & to see what is happening in the world.”

Chen, who previously worked at Microsoft and Cisco Systems, was appointed to lead Twitter’s China operation in April 2016. Her main job was developing strategies to attract more Chinese businesses to advertise on the platform. This was seen as a profitable investment by the company, Twitter vice-president for international operations Shailesh Rao told the South China Morning Post at the time.

Twitter appoints new Greater China head as number of Chinese advertisers balloons over 300 per cent

Twitter focused on advertising in China rather than attracting and engaging with local users mainly because it was banned by mainland authorities, along with other popular platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, Rao said.

In other tweets, Chen wrote that the company had merged its China advertising operations into its Asia-Pacific headquarters, and its Hong Kong office would stay open.

Some Twitter users appeared unhappy with Chen when she first joined the company.

One of her early tweets called for state-run CCTV and Twitter to “work together to tell the great China story to the world”.

The tweet angered many users who view the social media site as a platform for freedom of speech.

“By great China story, do you mean propaganda,” one user responded on Twitter.

Late on Saturday evening, a Twitter representative who asked not to be identified confirmed that Chen is leaving the company.