TikTok’s Chinese parent company is changing its managing director. Zhang Yiming wrote to his staff that he lacked “some of the skills that make an ideal manager.”
Dhe founder of the Chinese TikTok owner ByteDance resigns with the unusual reference to a lack of managerial qualities. Zhang Yiming told his staff in a letter published on Thursday that he was more interested in organizational issues and theories than “actually leading people.” He is also “not very social” and prefers solitary activities such as reading, listening to music and being online. The 38-year-old plans to hand over the post to his friend, long-time colleague and former roommate Liang Rubo towards the end of the year.
Under Zhang, the nine-year-old ByteDance has developed into a technology giant that now has more than 100,000 employees worldwide and, with the social network TikTok and the Chinese version Douyin, strongly determines the form of communication – especially among young people. His retreat to an as yet unspecified “key strategy post” comes at a time when the Chinese government is tightening its reins and monitoring technology companies more closely. It wasn’t until April that ByteDance stopped plans to go public.
It is unclear how the manager, who is now one of the five richest Chinese, will deal with his voting rights after the change in leadership. He currently owns between 20 and 30 percent of Bytedance and has more than half of the voting rights. The future of TikTok in the USA is also in the balance, where the former US President Donald Trump wanted to force the sale of the American activities and Oracle and Walmart have already been named as buyers.