October 5, 2022

TikTok’s CEO Navigates the Limits of His Power

Some who have worked with Mr. Chew said they were unclear about how well he understood the platform, which has continued growing. Some employees were brought in to teach Mr. Chew, who has 7,600 followers on his account, the latest TikTok trends to boost his presence, two people familiar with the plan said.

Mr. Chew has mostly been active around TikTok’s finances and operations, the people familiar with his activities said.

Last October, he shelved a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign for a TikTok NFT project involving the musical artists Lil Nas X and Bella Poarch. He reprimanded TikTok’s global head of marketing on a video call with Beijing-based leaders for ByteDance after some celebrities dropped out of the project, four people familiar with the meeting said. It showed that Mr. Chew answered to higher powers, they said.

Mr. Chew also ended a half-developed TikTok store off Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, three people familiar with the initiative said. TikTok briefly explored obtaining the naming rights of the Los Angeles stadium formerly known as the Staples Center, they said.

He has also overseen layoffs of American managers, two people familiar with the decisions said, while building up teams related to trust and safety. In its U.S. marketing, the app has shifted its emphasis from a brand that starts trends and conversations toward its utility as a place where people can go to learn.

In May, Mr. Chew flew to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, speaking with European regulators and ministers from Saudi Arabia to discuss digital strategy.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/16/technology/tiktok-ceo-shou-zi-chew.html

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