ByteDance founder defends TikTok’s US strategy

ByteDance CEO

ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming has told employees that there were misunderstandings on Chinese social websites concerning TikTok’s situation in the US and that the business could face difficulties as sentiment climbed abroad.

His comments in a letter to ByteDance’s Chinese employees arrived after the organisation and Zhang were heavily criticised on Chinese social media for entering into talks with Microsoft Corp to sell TikTok’s US operations.

Chinese press reported that the contents of the letter that was inner.

ByteDance didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I actually understand (the criticism),” Zhang said in the letter.

“People have high expectations of a company founded by a Chinese person which is going global but have little information about it. With lots of grievances towards the US government, they tend to lash out at us with harsh criticism.”

Since Monday, some users of China’s Twitter-like Weibo have stated they would uninstall ByteDance’s Chinese video app Douyin and information aggregator Jinri Toutiao because they thought ByteDance had given in too fast to Washington.

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Others advocated ByteDance to learn from US giant Google, which chose to pull its search engine from the Chinese market in 2010 later China requested it to censor its search results, rather than selling off its Chinese operations.

Zhang said some people had misunderstood the situation in the US. He said Washington’s goal wasn’t to force a sale of TikTok’s US operations through the Committee of Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) but to ban the app, and there was a lawful procedure ByteDance had no option but to follow.

Zhang told employees on Monday in another letter which the company had started discussions with a tech company so that it may continue to offer the TikTok app in the US.

President Trump initially dismissed the notion of selling TikTok’s US operations to Microsoft but changed his mind after pressure from several advisers as well as most in the Republican party, since banning TikTok could alienate many young Republicans, the news agency Reuters has reported.

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Zhang also told workers that in many nations belief had risen over the last two years and the corporation must brace for difficulties in the atmosphere.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai. Editing by Louise Heavens.

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