After Su Hua stepped down as CEO of Kuaishou in October 2021, little was known about his actions following the transition. Kuaishou is a Chinese short video platform and TikTok’s rival in China. On January 19 this year, Su offloaded a large number of shares in Kuaishou through a block deal. According to domestic media outlet Leiphone, Su was likely eyeing to enter the computer chip industry, although Kuaishou rejected Su’s plan.
Su Hua stepped down as CEO due to internal strife within Kuaishou. The direction for the future of the company was unclear. Su originally wanted to create a product that helps to relax and rejuvenate users. However, short videos increasingly dominate consumer attention and time, and have become a product of over-indulgence, which is contrary to Su’s original intention.
In the eyes of many people close to Su Hua, his strongest suit is not his ability to manage, but rather his skills in technical development. Comments such as “Su Hua’s technical ability is stronger than anyone else’s at ByteDance” were heard in the industry.
In September 2020, Nreal, a company focusing on AR/MR (augmented reality/mixed reality) ushered in its Series B round of financing with Kuaishou as the leading investor. Around the same time, Nreal was in contact with Zhang Yiming, founder of ByteDance, and Su Hua. A source close to Nreal said that Zhang is not an expert in AR technology. However, Su was very familiar with XR devices, including the Google Glass.
News recently emerged that Su Hua plans to acquire a large stake in Nreal. If these rumors are true, together with Kuaishou’s previous investment, Su will likely become a major shareholder of the AR/MR company.
It is possible that these recent events have gained Su a deep appreciation for computer chips. Xu Chi, founder of Nreal, has been working with NVIDIA to optimize algorithms. Xu has a strong background in software and hardware.
Many Chinese industry insiders speculate on whether Huawei can make chips. However, a source close to Huawei said that “Huawei actually has doubts about this matter”.
Kuaishou is also developing its own chips, mainly serving its short video service and strengthening its position in smart video processing. However, by stepping down as CEO, Su has forfeited much of his power in the company.