On January 23, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese Internet powerhouse ByteDance was looking for a new CEO for its TikTok business. As of time of reporting, a spokesperson from TikTok refused to comment.
According to the Bloomberg report, in recent months, the company has interviewed candidates for the CEO position which will be based in the United States. A person familiar with the matter said that one possible scenario is that the new CEO will be responsible for TikTok’s non-technical functions, including advertising and operations, while the current TikTok CEO Alex Zhu will continue to manage most products and projects outside China. The person also added that the recruitment process is ongoing and that the roles envisaged may still change depending on the people hired.
Tiktok is a product central to Bytedance’s globalization strategy. The app’s downloads in 2019 totaled more than 508 million, an increase of 55% year-on-year. Its monthly active users reached 500 million overseas, ahead of Twitter and Snapchat. Apptopia data shows that TikTok’s in-app purchase revenue in 2019 increased 310% year-on-year. The success of its overseas business was one of the most significant achievements for Bytedance in 2019.