Timothy Xu
Timothy Xu with his new colleagues Sir Lucian Grainge and Adam Granite

With China exerting an ever-bigger pull on the ambitions of the global major labels, Universal Music Group has appointed a new boss in the region.

Timothy Xu is the new chairman and CEO of Universal Music Greater China, following the retirement of its previous chairman Sunny Chang earlier this year.

Xu joins from independent Chinese firm Taihe Music Group, and before that he was chairman and CEO, Greater China for Sony Music. Xu also sits on various music industry boards and working groups in China, making him one of the most well-connected execs in the region.

We’ve been writing about UMG’s expansion in China since 2017, when it signed a licensing and distribution deal with Tencent Music.

Since then, it has hailed the success of local signings like Linong Chen; launched a label with Tencent Music while also striking a direct deal with its rival NetEase Cloud Music; and forged a merchandise partnership between its Bravado division and Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba’s Tmall platform.

More recently, UMG launched Republic Records China as a frontline label in 2021, accompanied by relaunches for EMI China, PolyGram Records China and Universal Music China.

Last year, Capitol Records China also launched as a frontline label in a year when (per the IFPI) China finally broke into the top five recorded-music markets globally.

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