Alex Zhu, Vice President of Products and Strategy and former Head of TikTok, has accepted a new appointment as Head of Bytedance’s Strategic Investments.
Prior to Zhu, Bytedance‘s Head of Strategic Investment was Yan Shou, the current Head of Gaming Business. In early February 2020, Yan Shou was transferred to a new post to take full charge of the company’s rising gaming business. The post was vacant for some time after Yan left, and will be facilitated by Ronnie Hua, former Head of Human Resources of ByteDance until Zhu takes over.
Alex Zhu is best known for starting Musical.ly in Shanghai in 2014. A prototype of TikTok, Musical.ly was a social media service where users created and shared short lip-sync videos. In 2017, Zhang Yiming successfully completed the acquisition of Musical.ly from Facebook, Kuaishou and other competitors for $1 billion. In 2018, Musical.ly merged with TikTok, and Zhu became head of TikTok. Before the merge, Musical.ly had more than 100 million monthly active users.
Faced with data security concerns overseas, ByteDance has appointed Kevin Mayer, former executive of Disney Streaming as head of TikTok. At the same time, Zhu’s main responsibility shifted to Products and Strategy.
Bytedance’s portfolio in strategic investment spans both domestic and overseas investments, both direct and through limited partnerships. Funds for ByteDance involved with limited partnerships include UpHonest Capital, XVC, and Source Capital.