Zhang Yiming to step down as ByteDance CEO

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming will step down as the group’s chief executive behind popular video app TikTok, in the latest retreat from the limelight of a Chinese tech leader as Beijing destroys the industry.

Zhang, 38, founded ByteDance nearly a decade ago, pushing the group based in Beijing to kill hit apps including TikTok and sister Chinese platform Douyin. He also led the company through a period of US-China tensions.

ByteDance said Zhang will step down as chief executive at the end of the year, and will be replaced by co -founder and head of human resources Liang Rubo.

The transfer comes as a company mulls an initial public offering, with parts of it recently sold in the hands of an estimated more than $ 200bn in private markets, according to people familiar with the matter.

“Since the beginning of this year, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to better drive real successes in the long run, without simply relying on consistent, but moreover, progress,” Zhang wrote in a company blog post.

Zhang said he will stay full-time with the company, but will work on “longer-term initiatives” and help “push for innovation, by understanding my strengths in being highly focused on learning” .

“I don’t have some skills that make an ideal manager,” Zhang wrote. “I’m more interested in analyzing organizational and market principles,” he added, noting that he is “less social” and prefers “solitary activities like online, reading, listening to music, and dreaming “.

His departure also came as China’s technology industry was at the bottom attack management, and was followed by other notable exits from leading tech companies.

Colin Huang, founder of Pinduoduo, exited the ecommerce group in March, while the Meituan food delivery group also faced off an antitrust investigation.

Chinese regulators in November suspended the initial offer of $ 37bn of fintech Ant Group, which was supposed to be the most listed on the stock market, at the last minute.

Ant’s former Alibaba ecommerce partner fined a record $ 2.8bn last month after regulators found it was abusing market control.

Jack Ma, the founder of both companies, has almost invisible to the public since criticizing Chinese regulators and state-owned banks in a speech in Shanghai later this year.

Further reporting by Nian Liu in Beijing

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