Twitter has hired a new boss in China even though the social media platform has been banned in the country since 2009.
Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced on Friday that Kathy Chen has been appointed as managing director of Twitter’s operations in Greater China.
Chen, who has only posted nine Tweets, will be tasked with getting more Chinese businesses to advertise on Twitter, according to The South China Morning Post, which reports that Chinese companies like Huawei, Lenovo, and domestic media outlets like the state-owned Xinhua news agency already pay Twitter to promote their tweets in people’s timelines.
The number of Chinese businesses advertising on Twitter increased more than 300% in the last year, according to The South China Morning Post.
Despite Twitter being banned on the Chinese mainland, the San Francisco-headquartered company opened an office in Hong Kong last year, where Twitter can be accessed. At the time, Twitter said the Hong Kong office would allow it to get advertising revenue from Chinese businesses, even if internet users on the mainland cannot see those ads. Chen will be based out of the Hong Kong office, according to The South China Morning Post.
Shailesh Rao, Twitter VP for Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Emerging Markets, told The South China Morning Post: “We’ve seen a 340% growth in the number of advertisers [using Twitter], and the types of advertisers are diverse.
“Because of the success we’ve seen, we want to expand the investment we’re making in [the region],” Rao said. “Kathy Chen will be responsible for developing the strategy and running the business.
“Asia-Pacific is the largest region in the world for us in terms of total number of active users, and it is also the fastest-growing region in terms of active user growth,” said Rao. “We view Greater China as a critical component [of the region].”
On the ban in mainland China, Rao said: “We would love to offer our Twitter consumer service to Chinese users, but that’s not an option right now. Instead we will focus on leveraging some of our capabilities to create value for Chinese businesses and state-owned enterprises.”