March 12, 2020 / 9:50 AM / 19 days ago

TikTok owner ByteDance announces China leaders, targets 100,000 global headcount

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing-based ByteDance, owner of global short video hit TikTok, on Thursday appointed new heads for its China business and set a goal to nearly double its global headcount to 100,000 by the end of the year.

FILE PHOTO: Tik Tok logos are seen on smartphones in front of a displayed ByteDance logo in this illustration taken November 27, 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The eight-year-old startup, which was valued at $78 billion in its latest financing round, currently has over 60,000 employees across 30 countries.

It also said that it has appointed monetization head Zhang Lidong as the chairman of its China business to oversee the Chinese market’s non-product operations, including strategy and monetization.

Chinese short video app Douyin head Kelly Zhang Nan will become chief executive of the China business, overseeing the country’s product operations, including Chinese news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, Douyin and Xigua Video, Bytedance said.

Both will report to the company’s founder and global CEO Zhang Yiming, who will shift his focus to the company’s global expansion plans, according to the statement.

“Over the next three years, I plan to visit all regions where we have offices, and learn both about local culture and also about the company’s operations in these locations,” Zhang, the global CEO, said in the statement.

“The rapid growth ByteDance has achieved over the past eight years is a testament to the dedication of all our employees, a global team we expect to number 100,000 by the end of the year,” he added.

TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app on Apple’s global app store and Google Play over the past consecutive two months, according to app performance tracker Sensor Tower.

Its rise to global stardom has also drawn attention from regulators in different countries. ByteDance is currently embroiled in a U.S national security inquiry into TikTok’s handling of user data.

To appease those concerns, ByteDance has stepped up efforts in operationally separating Tiktok from much of its Chinese businesses, Reuters reported last year.

The Beijing-based company also owns joke app Pipixia, Indian-language social media app Helo, and work efficiency app Lark.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai; editing by Jan Harvey and Jason Neely

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