ByteDance CEO is stepping down: what is ByteDance?

By: Ajay Pal Singh
Ajay Pal Singh
Ajay worked at Tata Motors in project planning before discovering his passion for stocks. Today, he lives in Canada… read more.
on May 20, 2021
  • ByteDance Ltd. co-founder, Zhang Yiming, will step down from his role as the CEO.
  • ByteDance owns the popular video-sharing social networking app, TikTok.
  • Co-founder Liang Rubo will take over as the CEO.

ByteDance Ltd. co-founder, Zhang Yiming, will step down from his role as the CEO of the company and move into a key strategic role towards the end of the year, according to a Wall Street Journal story.

ByteDance matters because it is the most valuable private company in the world. It owns the popular video-sharing social networking app, TikTok.

TikTok is huge

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TikTok has more than 100 million monthly active users (MAUs) in the U.S. and more than 700 million MAUs globally. The popular app had just 55 million global users in January 2018 and has since witnessed a tremendous pace of growth.

ByteDance revealed last year that TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally, making it the second most popular app in the world after Facebook. 

ByteDance had a private valuation of $180 billion in December 2020.

More details on the transition

Zhang will continue to serve on the board of the company and said the following in a letter to the employees:

“I believe I can best challenge the limits of what the company can achieve over the next decade, and drive innovation, by drawing on my strengths of highly focused learning, systematic thought, and a willingness to attempt new things.”

Co-founder Liang Rubo will take over the CEO role at the company. 

Mounting pressure on ByteDance

With the growth of TikTok, ByteDance has faced increasing pressure due to geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China. The company was investigated by the U.S. government to ascertain whether it posed a national security risk. 

As the pressure from the U.S. subsided, China has been trying to rein in the growing influence of its tech companies including Bytedance. ByteDance has been fined by the Chinese antitrust regulators in the past. 

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