TikTok’s former CEO Alex Zhu takes on funding duties at ByteDance
Alex Zhu, CEO of TikTok
John Phillips | Getty Pictures
Alex Zhu, the previous chief government of TikTok, is now investing in new firms on behalf of TikTok dad or mum firm ByteDance.
The entrepreneur, who cofounded the Musical.ly app that ByteDance acquired for as much as $1 billion and re-branded as TikTok, has been tasked with discovering know-how companies for ByteDance to take fairness stakes in.
Zhu turned ByteDance’s VP of Product and Technique in Might when ByteDance employed Disney streaming boss Kevin Mayer as TikTok’s new international chief government. A weblog put up mentioned Zhu would deal with technique and product design at ByteDance however there was no point out of investing.
On Tuesday, nonetheless, a ByteDance spokesperson advised CNBC that Zhu additionally oversees ByteDance investments as a part of his position.
ByteDance has invested in 21 start-ups, based on Crunchbase. In October 2016, ByteDance invested in Indian content material aggregation platform Dailyhunt and in Might this 12 months it backed Beijing monetary AI start-up Lingxi.
Previous to establishing Musical.ly in 2014, Zhu spent a number of years working for enterprise software program agency SAP.
Matthew Brennan, a China-based social media analyst, advised CNBC he believes that ByteDance “cannot have anybody Chinese language because the face of TikTok,” which is going through growing ranges of scrutiny within the West. “Alex was a terrific start-up founder with Musical.ly however he is not in the identical league as Kevin Mayer. Each Alex and Louis, the founders, have transitioned at ByteDance into completely different roles suited to what they’re obsessed with,” he mentioned.
TikTok has been attempting to distance itself from ByteDance as Chinese language firms face growing ranges of scrutiny from Western nations. Some politicians within the U.S. and the U.Okay. say they’re involved that the Chinese language authorities may use TikTok for espionage functions and that the corporate may share person information.
In an interview with The New York Occasions in November, Zhu mentioned he wouldn’t share TikTok person information even when President Xi Jinping requested him personally.
TikTok was banned in India on the finish of June and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned he’s “taking a look at” doing the identical.
Individually, TikTok pulled out of Hong Kong earlier this month after Beijing imposed a sweeping new safety regulation that gave police extra powers within the area.