TikTok maker ByteDance looks to shift power out of China amid rising global tensions

The aim of the strategy is not just TikTok, which is not available in China, but includes all non-China-focused businesses in ByteDance.

Disney’s Kevin Meyer of TikTok to become its CEO was said by many to be familiar with the plan, with plans to move its power center away from China at a time of growing global tensions by its Chinese boss. ByteDance, the parent company of the short video app, has quietly taken a number of steps in recent months to shift global decision-making and research capabilities out of its country, sources told Reuters.

Sources say that this strategy not only rests on TikTok, which is not available in China, but includes all non-China-focused businesses in ByteDance. Such businesses also include entities such as social networking app Halo in India. ByteDancehas expanded TeakTalk’s engineering and research and development operations in Mountain View, California, according to three sources. One of the people said that he hired more than 150 engineers there.

ByteDance has also hired a New York investor relations director who keeps in touch with key investors including General Atlantic and KKR, which previously managed through Beijing, according to two sources. The new hire, Michelle Huang, is a former SoftBank investor who worked on a Japanese firm’s investment in ByteDance. Huang did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.

Trade, technology and the COVID-19 epidemic, as well as times of heightened tensions between the United States and China, have changed, as well as intensive US regulatory scrutiny of TikTok, which has gained rapid popularity worldwide and the United States. Counts as America. It has the largest market. Former Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) streaming chief Meyer, who was named chief operating officer of ByteDance, based in Los Angeles, will also be assigned leadership for areas such as global corporate development. According to three sources, many of his responsibilities were previously managed from Beijing.

Broadly, ByteDance is recruiting engineers from all over the world, including online job posting shows in Singapore, Jakarta and Warsaw. These significant organizational changes are being hailed as war by some ByteDance staff, who support China’s company’s global operations, three sources said Reuters. They are concerned that they may be less relevant in the next phase of expansion and they have started working elsewhere, sources said.

American movement

For TikTok, the rapid expansion of the US engineering team is part of efforts to shift its technical resources from China to the West, where much of the work on the app has been done up to this point, the company’s plan familiar with two sources. It is not uncommon for multinational tech companies like Google to be engineers in China.

Although the engineering team on the app has previously reported to managers in China, TikTok is in the process of recruiting a high-level executive to run the engineering department from the United States, according to two sources. A source said that it has contacted a senior employee of Google in recent months. However, it would be difficult to build a relationship with a China-based team.

Some Chinese engineers support Tickcock as well as ByteDance’ Chinese social media app Doyen, all three sources said. Sources said that sharing of some infrastructure of the two would make development completely impossible. TikTok, which allows users to create short videos with special effects, has become wildly popular with viral challenges by American teenagers who dance with music clips from the app’s library.

However, its Chinese ownership has caused concerns about TikTok’s handling of personal data in Washington. The company uses sophisticated artificial intelligence to make video recommendations based on the behavior of users on the app. A source said that aside from hiring 150 employees, the Mountain View team had taken over the U.S. Tech giants have hunted a few dozen data engineers.

ED credibility issue ‘

Since last year, TikTok has faced scrutiny by US officials over potential national security risks. An investigation by the US Treasury’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) focuses on dealing with personal data, Reuters reported in November. Legal experts said regulators will study TickTock’s latest actions to determine whether they have mitigated any potential risk and are more than cosmetic touches.

“As with any restructuring effort, the problem is one of credibility,” said Paul Marquardt, CFIUS’s attorney at the law firm Klee Gottlieb, who is not included in the TikTok review. “CFIUS will evaluate whether it truly believed that the operations were functionally independent and untouched by potential adverse effects.” Republican Senator Marco Rubio was one of the US lawmakers who last year urged CFIUS to review the 2018 acquisition of the popular music video app Musically by ByteDance in the United States.

When asked if TikTok’s recent moves could address US regulatory concerns, he told Reuters: “As long as TikTokor any other application operates in a way that benefits the Chinese government and the Communist Party Lets say, it is impossible to separate the dangers of such usage, from reality users’ information may be at risk.”

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