TikTok Looks to Hire American Leadership to Reduce China Ties

Sam Reynolds
London, United Kingdom - October 05, 2018: Close-up shot of musical.ly Inc.'s popular app TikTok - including musical.ly.

This is not investment advice. The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Wccftech.com has a disclosure and ethics policy.

TikTok has taken the US by storm, but with its growing popularity comes continued concerns over its ties to China. Now, the company is looking to lessen these concerns by further reducing its ties to China by hiring a US-based CEO.

Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the company is looking for new leadership to be based in the US to handle all "non-technical functions" of TikTok including advertising and operations. Reportedly, the current TikTok chief, Alex Zhu would remain in a senior leadership role handling the technical operations of the company.

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All this comes as the company aggressively looks to reduce its ties to China to appease US lawmakers. As per prior reports, TikTok is expanding its operations outside of China, including in Dublin and Singapore, as is seeking to move the company's legal domicile abroad.  The company has also said that it would not share data with Beijing of non-Chinese users, nor would it censor TikTok videos that displease China. All TikTok user data is stored on cloud servers in the US or in Singapore depending on the user's geographic location.

Interest in this issue by US lawmakers because of the company's $1 billion acquisition of Los Angeles-based Musical.ly -- which was re-branded as TikTok -- back in 2017. In China, the app is known as Douyin.  Although the features are nearly identical, and at first glance, the app simply appears as a parallel, Chinese version, the reality is censors are active on that platform immediately vanishing content that's political or otherwise deemed illicit in China.

It's no secret that TikTok has been a phenomenal success for its parent company, ByteDance. As Wccftech recently reported, TikTok's revenue grew by 310% on a year-over-year basis during the fourth quarter of 2019. According to App Annie, which tracks mobile app downloads, TikTok was the seventh most downloaded app of the 2010s, and in 2019 was the most non-game downloaded app surpassing Instagram.

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