The e-commerce arm of ByteDance-owned TikTok will see Kevin Chen, the current the head of news aggregator Toutiao, lead its product and data science division, according to a report by LatePost on December 28. After the transfer, Chen will report to Kang Zeyu, head of TikTok’s e-commerce business. Zhang Chao, head of the reading app Tomato Novel, will now lead Toutiao and report to KellyZhang, CEO of Douyin.
Kevin Chen joined ByteDance at the end of 2020, initially as the head of Douyin Volcano Edition. At the beginning of 2021, he succeeded Zhu Wenjia as the president of Toutiao. Before joining ByteDance, he served as the Executive President of Didi’s ride-hailing business, and was one of the young managers with the fastest promotion and the most outstanding performance at Didi.
In October this year, it was reported that the daily active users of TikTok were more than 800 million, and the company also announced its latest goal to be achieved before the end of 2022, with more than 1.05 billion of DAUs. In addition to innovation based on short video content, it is trying to expand its business into music, games, livestreaming, cross-border e-commerce and other fields. Among these, cross-border e-commerce is the top priority.
This year, the expansion of TikTok’s e-commerce business has greatly accelerated, from its launch in Indonesia and the UK to a total of seven countries, five of which are in Southeast Asia, one of the fastest growing regions for e-commerce in the world. In November this year, it entered the United States, and it plans to explore Brazil, Ireland, Spain and other markets in 2023. According to an internal plan, TikTok e-commerce aims to achieve 3 trillion yuan in gross merchandise volume within five years.
However, TikTok’s e-commerce business has encountered many challenges in overseas markets, including cross-cultural and labor conflicts. The company hasn’t found a proper way to adapt its China business model to global markets. Kevin Chen, who has both product and management capabilities, is seen as providing the key talent urgently needed to expand this nascent business.