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ByteDance Promotes News Unit CEO As Global TikTok R&D Head: Reuters

  • Beijing’s ByteDance plans to promote Zhu Wenjia from the CEO of its news aggregator unit, Jinri Toutiao, to lead the newly created role of global R&D head for its short video app TikTok in Singapore, Reuters reports.
  • Former Didi Chuxing executive Kevin Chen will succeed Zhu as Toutiao’s new CEO.
  • Zhu will lead the app’s product and technologies, including its recommendation algorithms. His position will be equivalent to TikTok’s interim head, Vanessa Pappas, and will report to ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming.
  • TikTok was compelled to divest its U.S. operations over security breach allegations under the Trump administration despite denial.
  • TikTok reportedly shifted its vital research capabilities outside China last year and reached out to tech giant employees, including Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) Google for a senior engineering role.
  • U.S. investors, including Oracle Corp (NYSE: ORCL) and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMT), have been contemplating a majority stake acquisition in TikTok’s American operations.
  • The Biden government is reportedly monitoring TikTok and has not taken any new steps.
  • ByteDance reportedly intended to invest billions of dollars and recruit hundreds of employees for its new Southeast Asia regional headquarters in Singapore.

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