The Chinese ByteDance is reportedly looking for an American CEO for its platform TikTok. He should lead all departments except TikTok’s product development, according to Bloomberg news agency.
Talks have already been held with various candidates, Bloomberg reports based on anonymous sources. ByteDance declined to comment on the article. The former founder of Musical.ly, Alex Zhu, would continue to lead product development. He works from China and was put in charge of TikTok last year. ByteDance also has a Chinese counterpart of TikTok called Douyin. That app has a different management team.
ByteDance now employs more than 400 people in the US and wants to grow bigger, the company says. The move to hire a US CEO would also be intended to reassure US authorities. They see a potential security risk in TikTok, because the app is in Chinese hands. TikTok is also popular in the US. The Chinese owner has already considered more options to respond to the concerns. For example, it would like to house TikTok in its own company or sell part of the company. ByteDance would fear it would have to sell TikTok if it doesn’t take these measures. The same is happening with Beijing Kunlun Tech, which has to sell dating app Grindr.