Thursday, 2023 December 7

Zhang Yiming says ByteDance’s goal of becoming a trustworthy global company remains unchanged

With momentum building towards TikTok’s sale to Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ:MSFT), ByteDance’s ambitions of global superstardom are dimming by the day. However, Zhang Yiming has released an internal letter stressing ByteDance remains faithful to its global ambitions.

“Bytedance wants to become a trustworthy global company; this is unchanged,” said Zhang. “In an era of great change […] this is an inherently challenging and meaningful journey.”

Unlike Microsoft, which is vocal about the prospect, Zhang shied away from naming TikTok’s potential acquirer(s) or confirming an imminent sale, shortly stating it has “not fully decided on the final solution”, and “it has not given up on any possibility”.

He mentioned, however, that ByteDance would scrutinize three aspects—”users, teams, and company”—in reaching a viable solution. Zhang also made a hat tip to ByteDance’s “local teams” around the world, which were facing greater difficulties at this time due to the ongoing situation.

In his letter, Zhang alluded the rush to ban TikTok being linked to the review from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which arose due to ByteDance’s acquisition of in 2018.

No public decision has been released, although CFIUS’s 90-day investigation estimate has passed.  Zhang, however, implied that a decision lay behind the scenes. “We do not agree with the decision because we have always insisted on ensuring user data security, platform, neutrality, and transparency,” said Zhang.


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