Why Did the Head of Twitter China Just Resign?

4 Jan

On December 31, Twitter’s Managing Director for China, Kathy Chen, announced her departure from the company. “Now that Twitter’s APAC [Asia Pacific] team is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” she wrote in a tweet.

Chen joined Twitter to help it attract more Chinese advertisers (The platform has been blocked in China since 2009). Her critics say she has been insufficiently familiar with Twitter and too willing to cooperate with Chinese censors.

Early in her career, Chen worked as an engineer for a research institute attached to the Chinese army’s Second Artillery Corps. She also worked for five years as chief executive officer of an antivirus firm with ties to China’s Ministry of Public Security.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Chen said that Twitter “remains committed to the China market and its focus there remained serving Chinese advertisers who wanted to reach international markets.” Twitter’s advertiser base in Greater China has risen 400% in the past two years, Chen wrote.

Twitter has been trimming costs in recent months. In October, the company said it would reduce its workforce by 9% with the cuts coming mostly in sales, partnerships and marketing. Twitter said it focus on profitability following a quarterly loss of $100 million.

In recent months, some other Asia-based Twitter executives in Asia have resigned, such as  Parminder Singh, head of India, Southeast Asia, Middle East and North Africa.

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