Twitter has appointed a new head of Chinese operations, as the number of Chinese companies using the medium to market overseas continues to rise.

Kathy Chen will take over from Peter Greenberger, heading up the Hong Kong headquarters, which oversees China. Chen previously worked with Microsoft and Cisco before joining Twitter. CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted his congratulations to Chen earlier today:

The San Francisco-based social media network remains blocked on within mainland China, though tools like Twitter have become an important medium for Chinese companies seeking to reach out to foreign markets.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Twitter VP for Asia-Pacific, Shaliesh Rao, noted that the company had seen a 340 percent growth in the number of Chinese advertisers, (though the article didn’t mention the timeframe for that growth).

While China’s government is not willing to allow the company access to the mainland, they have no qualms working with Twitter outside the country. In a panel hosted by Technode in December, Twitter’s head of Online Sales, Alan Lan, said that the company’s biggest client was in fact Xinhua News, the official state media outlet of the Chinese Government. Many other state media outlets also use Twitter to advertise globally, including state broadcaster CCTV.

As Twitter’s presence has evolved in the region, they still shy away from the fanfare employed by other blocked tech companies including Google and Facebook. Jack Dorsey has done no public engagements in China, unlike Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who has become a well known public figure in the country through multiple tours and partnerships.

The government has given no indication that western social media outlets, including Twitter and Facebook, will be permitted in China anytime soon. It’s likely the China operations overseen by new head Kathy Chen will include building out the company’s back end data analytics services for enterprise clients seeking new audiences overseas.

Kathy Chen’s posted a welcome video and message earlier today:

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or

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