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ByteDance CFO Shou Zi Chew steps down to focus on a role as TikTok CEO

TikTok owner ByteDance’s finance chief will step down to concentrate on his role as CEO of the short video app. TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd. said Chief Financial Officer Shou Zi Chew will step down from that role to focus on his position as CEO of the well-known and popular video-sharing platform, a move that comes as ByteDance is reorganizing its business.

Mr. Chew was appointed to the top finance position at ByteDance in March after the organization poached him from Beijing-based Xiaomi Corp., where he served as CFO from 2015 to 2020. He took on the extra role as TikTok CEO around two months later.

Shou Zi Chew joined ByteDance as CFO from smartphone producer Xiaomi in March, starting theory the organization could be on track for an initial public offering. ByteDance said in April it had no imminent plans to list.

Chew became the CEO of the short video app TikTok in May.

ByteDance co-founder Liang Rubo in an internal memo said the organization’s finance department would report to him. Mr. Liang is succeeding founder Zhang Yiming as CEO, as the organization in May said Mr. Zhang would get out of that role this year.

Mr. Liang declared a rebuilding of ByteDance into six business segments: TikTok, its Chinese version Douyin, work-collaboration platform Lark, business-services unit BytePlus, gaming unit Nuverse, and education-technology unit Dali Education.

The move is part of a more extensive reorganization within ByteDance in which six business units have been made, the organization’s CEO Liang Rubo told representatives in the memo.

The first business unit is Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, which will likewise incorporate ByteDance’s Toutiao news aggregation service.

Different units incorporate work collaboration division Lark, education business Dali and enterprise technology platform BytePlus.

The Nuverse business will focus on ByteDance’s gaming efforts, while the TikTok unit will focus on the short video app.

The progressions will occur over a steady transition period, Liang said.

ByteDance has hoped to reorganize its business this year including upper management. In May, Zhang Yiming, co-founder of ByteDance, stepped down as CEO and changed into a strategy role. Liang took over as CEO.

It has been a rocky 15 months for ByteDance after it was named a national security threat by previous President Donald Trump’s administration and ordered to strip its TikTok business in the U.S. Even though the move started an offering battle between organizations including Microsoft and Oracle, a deal never materialized.

Nonetheless, the mounting pressure from Washington constrained Kevin Mayer, who was hired from Disney to run TikTok, to step down.

In any case, ByteDance has kept on pushing forward with new business regions from gaming to fintech, while TikTok hit a billion monthly active users in September.

Its Chinese services Toutiao, Xigua, Search, Baike, and other vertical contributions will be gathered under the Douyin business unit, while the TikTok business will support the development of broadened business lines, for example, global e-commerce, as per Mr. Liang.

“As the company’s business evolves and the team grows, each business faces different opportunities and challenges,” Mr. Liang said in the memo, adding that the heads of the different business sectors would report to him. A representative for the organization declined to comment further.

ByteDance lists Carlyle Group and Sequoia Capital among its investors. It was valued at $360 billion toward the finish of February, as indicated by information supplier PitchBook.

Privately held ByteDance has confronted regulatory hurdles and government pressure in recent months.

In April, ByteDance was among 34 of China’s greatest tech organizations that made public vows to consent to the country’s antimonopoly laws, soon after e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. was hit with $2.8 billion in antitrust fines. ByteDance was likewise among 13 organizations ordered by the Chinese central bank and different regulators to adhere to more tight regulation of their information and lending practices.

Earlier this year, the organization put on pause indefinitely its expectations to list offshore after Chinese government officials advised the organization to focus on addressing data-security risks, The Wall Street Journal revealed in July.

ByteDance’s challenges come after the U.S. government researched whether the TikTok app represents a risk to national security amid worries that the Chinese government could access the personal information of millions of American clients.

The Trump administration gave an executive order last year that would have restricted the app except if it tracked down an American purchaser. Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc. were in a group engaged in converses with purchase TikTok’s U.S. activities, which ByteDance went against with legal challenges. Federal court decisions blocked previous President Donald Trump’s orders from ever taking effect.

The Biden administration in February retired plans to require the sale amid a more extensive review of potential security hazards from Chinese tech organizations.

Last week, short-video apps owner Kuaishou (1024.HK) said its co-founder, Su Hua, had stepped down as CEO.

E-commerce company Pinduoduo (PDD.O) founder Huang Zheng stepped down as chairman this year, having prior surrendered his CEO title. Alibaba founder Jack Ma retired as chairman of the e-commerce giant in 2019.

ByteDance will likewise be reorganized into six units – TikTok and its Chinese version Douyin, work collaboration unit Lark, business services unit BytePlus, gaming unit Nuverse, and education tech unit Dali Education, Mr. Liang said in the memo.

This will help guarantee “business lines and teams that work closely together are grouped as BUs”, he added.

The TikTok unit will support operations of the short video app and its expansion into regions, for example, global e-commerce.

ByteDance’s Chinese products, including Douyin, news aggregator Toutiao, video-streaming platform Xigua, will be folded into the Douyin unit, which will take over all “information and service” operations in the Chinese market.

The bulk of ByteDance revenue, totaling US$34.3 billion in 2020, was created in China, sources have said.

Mr. Liang likewise said that Dali, which has undergone lay-offs and product closures after China gave rules excepting curriculum-based tutoring for profit, would offer services of assistance for education stakeholders such as artificial intelligence-powered learning, education for adults, and smart hardware.

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