Andy Ma, who was named Warner Music Group’s CEO of Greater China in April, has left the company just seven months after taking on the role. The news was first reported by Music Business Worldwide and has been confirmed by Billboard. His departure was for “family reasons,” according to the report.
Ma had been at Warner since 2011, working in a variety of roles for the major label in China, and in September 2018 had taken over as CEO of Warner Music China and executive vp commercial and business development for Greater China, which encompasses Taiwan and Hong Kong, both of which had been run independently. In April, his promotion to CEO of Greater China consolidated the region under one management team. China is the seventh-largest music market in the world, according to the IFPI; adding in Hong Kong and Taiwan pushes Greater China to sixth on the list, above South Korea.
Following Ma’s departure, Jonathan Serbin has taken over as CEO of Greater China, reporting to Warner Music Asia president Simon Robson. MBW also reports the company will now be searching for a managing director for Warner Music China.
Ma has been credited with leading Warner’s partnerships with China Mobile and other digital partners in Asia, as well as the relationship between the major and Tencent, which owns digital music services QQ Music, Kugou, and Kuwo. His ascent in the company coincided with a greater focus on the region, not just from Warner but from all majors, as China in particular has grown into a major revenue generator, particularly in streaming, over the past decade after being plagued by piracy for years.
In 2019, according to the IFPI, China’s revenues grew 16% year over year to $591 million, with audio streaming representing more than 90% of that total, while the country had the second-most number of streaming subscribers across the globe, trailing only the U.S. And there remains room for growth, as the country is also one of just two markets (alongside India) where the largest sector of revenue was derived from ad-based streaming, rather than subscription, and the only market where more than half of all revenues came from ad-supported streaming.