China Twitter boss leaves after seven months

The head of Twitter’s China operations has left the firm after seven months in charge.

Kathy Chen announced she was leaving following a restructure of the business in Asia.

While Twitter is blocked in China, it lets Chinese advertisers reach a global audience. It is also very popular with Chinese dissidents based in the West.

Ms Chen is the latest in a string of high-profile Twitter executives to depart from the firm.

Chief technology officer Adam Messinger and chief operating officer Adam Bain have both left recently.

Hong Kong-based Ms Chen, who had previously worked for Cisco and Microsoft, was hired as managing director for Twitter’s China region in April 2016.

She also used to be in the Chinese military, and her apparent links with the Beijing government meant the appointment prompted concern from some China activists that it had hired somebody who was pro-China.

Since then Twitter has reorganised its Asia division, with country heads in India and Australia also leaving.

“Now that the Twitter APAC [Asia Pacific] team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” Ms Chen wrote on the site.

Her 12-tweet message also included claims that revenue from Chinese advertising partners had soared 400% in the past two years and that the Hong Kong office – rumoured to be closing – would remain open “for now”.

“Working at Twitter has opened my mind, my passion is to connect people to the world through cross-cultural communications & businesses,” she added.

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