The co-founder of Chinese social media titan TikTok’s parent company today announced he was stepping down as CEO because he is “not very social.”
In a memo to employees, ByteDance boss Zhang Yiming - under whom the video-clip sharing app grew into a worldwide phenomenon from its 2012 launch - said he preferred reading and listening to music to running a global tech giant with 700 million active monthly users.
“The truth is, I lack some of the skills that make an ideal manager,” he wrote.
“I’m more interested in analysing organisational and market principles, and leveraging these theories to further reduce management work, rather than actually managing people.
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"Similarly, I’m not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and contemplating what may be possible.”
Yiming will be succeeded by Rubo Liang, the group’s other co-founder and head of human resources, who he said has been “an invaluable partner” during the company’s meteroric rise.
During his presidency, Donald Trump regularly attacked ByteDance, accusing TikTok of being a threat to US national security and claiming users’ personal data was being passed to the Chinese government.
An attempt to force ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to a US-based consortium, citing national security concerns, has stalled amid legal challenges.
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