Twitter China chief Kathy Chen departs after 8 months

Twitter’s managing director of the greater China region, Kathy Chen, is leaving the tech firm after eight months at the helm, adding to the string of company executives who announced their departures in 2016.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Chen said that the company’s Hong Kong office will remain open but she was leaving the company.

Chen joined Twitter in mid-April to help expand advertising, customer service, data analytics and grow other business services in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. But reports that she previously worked as an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army sparked free speech concerns from activists.

Twitter is blocked in China, but users still access the site through an encrypted connection called a virtual private network.

Chen said on Twitter that the Greater China Region is one of the fastest-growing markets in the Asia Pacific for the tech firm. The company’s advertiser base has grown nearly 400 percent over the past two years, she wrote.

Chen said she’s taking “some time off to recharge, study about different cultures and then pursue more international business opportunities.”

Twitter has struggled to attract more users and slashed its worldwide workforce by 9 percent, or 350 employees, last year. The company, which has 317 million monthly active users, is trying to become profitable in 2017.

But Twitter will have to accomplish that goal without some key players.

A number of executives announced they were leaving the company, including Adam Bain, chief operating officer; Adam Messinger, chief technology officer; and Josh McFarland, a vice president of product.

Photo: The Twitter building on Dec. 14, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

 

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