Tue, Jan 03, 2017 - Page 12 News List

Twitter chief for China quits, hails its performance


Twitter Inc’s manager for greater China, whose appointment just eight months ago sparked controversy, has announced her resignation, but welcomed the growing number of Chinese advertisers even though the service is blocked by Beijing.

Kathy Chen (陳葵), appointed in April last year as general manager for the greater China region comprising Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and Macau, made the announcement on Saturday evening on Twitter.

“Now that the Twitter APAC team [Asia-Pacific team in Singapore] is working directly with Chinese advertisers, this is the right time for me to leave the company,” she said.

Like other Western platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is inaccessible in China, blocked by the Chinese government’s vast system of Internet censorship.

Unable to reach local users, Twitter has tried to persuade Chinese companies and media to open accounts to reach a global audience. Large groups such as the telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) and state media have made their appearance on the platform.

Chen said that in the past two years, Twitter’s advertising base in the greater China region had grown almost 400 percent.

Human rights activists and non-governmental organizations had taken issue with Chen’s resume when she was appointed. In the 1980s and 1990s she worked as a computer engineer for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.

Critics were also dismayed by Chen’s call on her appointment for “closer partnership” with Chinese Communist Party-backed state media.

Twitter is home to a very active community of Chinese intellectuals and dissidents posting from abroad and also from within the country through the use of virtual private networks.

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