Last week, Disney’s Kevin Mayer became the CEO of ByteDance-owned popular short-form video platform TikTok. As reported first by Reuters, this is apparently one of ByteDance’s steps to move the decision-making authorities and research team from China.
According to a recent Reuters report citing industry sources familiar with the matter, ByteDance has been making moves to shift its teams from China as part of a new strategy.
To support the transition, ByteDance has expanded TikTok’s engineering, and research & development operations in Mountain View, California. As per the source, the company had hired over 150 engineers for its California team.
ByteDance might be attempting to address the privacy concerns revolving around the app with this restructuring. The company has apparently hired a few data engineers from the U.S. as well.
Apart from this, ByteDance has reportedly hired a New York-based investor relations director named Michelle Huang to maintain healthy relations with private equity firms such as General Atlantic and KKR.
The changes in strategy have allegedly caused caution in ByteDance’s internal team. The major concern is if they would be laid off as part of BytDance’s bigger plans for gradually moving out of China.
TikTok has long been alleged by US lawmakers as being an app used by the Chinese government to spy on US citizens. “As long as TikTok or any other application operates in a way that gives the Chinese government and Communist Party leverage, it is impossible to separate the dangers of using such an application from the reality that users’ information could be at risk.”, Republican Senator Marco Rubio told Reuters.