Zhang Yiming stepped down as the CEO of his company’s flagship platform Jinri Toutiao, a news aggregator, but kept his title as CEO of the parent company ByteDance.
Chen Lin, the former product manager of Jinri Toutiao made his debut as the new CEO at an annual company event on Nov.17.
“My job will not change that much, as it is nothing but a title for publicity. I don’t need that within the team,” said Chen.
However, some analysts believe the personnel change is more than a simple promotion and rather a part of a strategic plan.
“That means ByteDance has officially become a two-wheel driven vehicle, with the content distribution platform Jinri Toutiao and the viral short video app TikTok,” said Lan Xi, founder of Zhulu.com which focuses on startups.
The information flow app Jinri Toutiao has been ByteDance’s main platform since the company was founded in 2012. Its number of daily active users (DAU) reached 120 million by the end of July according to Zaker.
Apart from Toutiao, Bytedance also operates several other machine learning-enabled content platforms, which are mainly video oriented, including the 15-second video app TikTok, Xigua Video and Vigo Video.
Upon the surge of social media apps, especially short video ones, TikTok grew to stand side by side with the former giant Toutiao. It ranked fourth by worldwide downloads in the third of 2018, according to Sensor Tower with over 200 million DAU.
In April, ByteDance started branding with the new name instead of the formerly known Jinri Toutiao, similar to what happened with Alphabet and Google. The brand upgrade was for a global marketing strategy for diverse products as well as to stay away from negative influences brought by the reform of Jinri Toutiao.
“Platforms like TikTok and Xigua meet demands of different users with various scenes. And they make up for what Jinri Toutiao can’t fulfill,” Chen told reporters.
The new slogan on ByteDance’s official website is “We are building the future of content discovery and creation,” which was formerly “The only headlines are those you care about.”