Chairman of TikTok owner ByteDance steps down as Beijing tightens grip

3 weeks ago 15

The president of TikTok proprietor ByteDance has stepped down, arsenic the Chinese authorities tightens its power of the tech assemblage and maintains unit connected the industry’s home entrepreneurs.

Zhang Yiming announced successful May helium would measurement down arsenic main enforcement of the tech institution helium co-founded and connected Wednesday helium relinquished his seat title, with the company’s English-language website nary longer featuring a leafage that mentioned his ceremonial committee role. Instead, determination was a photo of Zhang nether the heading of “leadership” with nary rubric underneath. ByteDance declined to comment.

Reuters reported that ByteDance’s caller main executive, co-founder Liang Rubo, has taken implicit arsenic president of the company’s five-person board. It was besides unclear whether determination had been immoderate changes to Zhang’s power of the company, wherever helium owns 50% of the voting rights.

In May, ByteDance had said Zhang would determination to a “key strategy” presumption astatine the extremity of the year. At the time, Zhang said helium was leaving the relation due to the fact that helium lacked managerial skills and preferred “reading and daydreaming” to moving the tech group.

ByteDance is 1 of Chinese tech’s biggest planetary occurrence stories acknowledgment to TikTok, the short-video level that has amassed much than 1 cardinal users worldwide and has go a competitory menace to rival US tech firms specified arsenic Facebook, Snapchat and Google-owned YouTube.

ByteDance was valued astatine $140bn (£102bn) successful a fundraising circular past year. It besides owns Douyin, a video level for its home market, and different interests that span education, gaming and concern software.

A fig of founders astatine immoderate of China’s astir well-known tech companies person successful caller months fixed up overseeing regular operations amid a authorities clampdown connected the tech sector. Last week, short-video apps proprietor Kuaishou said its co-founder, Su Hua, had stepped down arsenic main executive. The laminitis of e-commerce institution Pinduoduo, Huang Zheng, stepped down arsenic president this year, having earlier relinquished his main enforcement title.

According to analysts, the Chinese authorities has become progressively concerned astir the powerfulness and power that has been amassed by affluent tech entrepreneurs, with galore of them multi-billionaires. Tencent, a societal media, gaming and concern group, and Alibaba, an online buying giant, person some pledged multibillion lb sums to assistance execute the “common prosperity” of the nation.

Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, has been a high-profile unfortunate of the crackdown, lone precocious venturing extracurricular China to spell connected vacation successful Spain. Ma has constricted his nationalist appearances since the planned interval of his online concern platform, Ant Group, was blocked by President Xi Jinping past year. The determination came soon aft Ma delivered a code criticising Chinese fiscal regulators.

Foreign tech firms are besides retreating from China, with Yahoo announcing this week that it was was quitting the state owed to the “increasingly challenging concern and ineligible situation successful China”. The timing of the withdrawal coincided with the implementation of China’s caller information extortion law, which came into effect connected Monday. The instrumentality limits the conditions nether which companies tin stitchery idiosyncratic accusation and sets rules for however it is used.

The ByteDance committee determination comes aft the institution connected Tuesday announced a large organisational reshuffle to make six concern units. It besides said that TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, would measurement down arsenic main fiscal serviceman astatine ByteDance successful bid to absorption connected moving the video level full-time.

ByteDance has been approached for comment.