Skip to main content




ByteDance founder tells staff he is shifting away from CEO's daily work: Sources

ByteDance founder tells staff he is shifting away from CEO's daily work: Sources

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming is the latest Chinese tech entrepreneur to step aside well before their prime. (File photo: AFP/Greg Baker)

BEIJING: ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming told staff on Thursday (Jun 17) that he was already shifting away from chief executive's daily responsibilities and his work pace was less intense, according to two people who attended the meeting.

In May, Zhang unexpectedly announced that he will step down as CEO of the TikTok owner amid Chinese regulators' tightened scrutiny of the country's biggest technology firms.

He said at the time he would move to a "key strategy" role and complete the transition work with his successor Liang Rubo by the end of this year.

Zhang told staff he is currently studying other companies' organisational structures and managing styles, and doing research on the education industry. Zhang remains chairman of ByteDance and has the absolute voting power at the company.

The company told staff at the same meeting that its total revenue more than doubled in 2020 to US$34.3 billion and its net loss widened to US$45 billion, according to a memo seen by Reuters.

The wider loss was partly attributable to accounting norms for share-based compensation of employees, a person familiar with the matter said.

Reuters has reported that ByteDance, one of the world's biggest private tech companies with an estimated value of about US$300 billion in recent trades, had a revenue goal of around US$30 billion for 2020.

ByteDance posted an operating loss of US$2 billion and a gross profit of US$19 billion, representing 93 per cent growth year-over-year, the company told employees in the staff meeting, upon which the memo was based.

Beijing-based ByteDance declined to comment on its financials or Zhang's remarks.

It had 1.9 billion global monthly users in December 2020 for all its apps including TikTok, its Chinese version Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao.

Source: Reuters


Also worth reading