Twitter helps Chinese firms tweet beyond the Great Firewall of China

15 Apr 2016

Even though Twitter is banned in China, that's not stopping Chinese firms using the social media site to sell beyond its borders

Twitter has hired tech veteran Kathy Chen as managing director of its new Greater China office in Hong Kong, and has revealed that it has seen advertising in China – typically a no-go area for US social media sites – boom by over 300pc in the last year.

While Twitter and other social media sites like Facebook have been blocked from mainland China since 2009, the micro-blogging site sees an opportunity to help Chinese companies sell and advertise products and services to the wider world.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Twitter vice-president for Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Emerging Markets Shailesh Rao said that business is booming from Chinese companies looking to export.

“We’ve seen a 340pc growth in the number of advertisers [using Twitter], and the types of advertisers are diverse,” Rao said.

Chinese brands that actively use Twitter to market overseas include Lenovo, Huawei, and even the state-owned Xinua news agency.

Chen was previously general manager at Microsoft China, where she oversaw the development of partnerships for products like Azure and Office 365 and, before that, she held senior roles at Cisco and Computer Associates.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced Chen’s appointment in a tweet earlier today.

Chen, who is new to Twitter, quickly amassed hundreds of followers.

Main image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years