According to the Chinese media outlet Latepost, on October 28, ByteDance saw a personnel reshuffle with Zhang Nan taking charge of Douyin, and Alex Zhu taking over the app’s international version TikTok, while reporting directly to the CEO of ByteDance, Zhang Yiming.
Previously Alex Zhu led Douyin, while reporting to Zhang Nan, who was the nominal head of TikTok. However, in the past half year, Zhang Nan slowly transitioned out of the international and into domestic product decision-making process.
The two main decision makers at TikTok have essentially remained unchanged, simply switching responsibilities. Zhang Nan, the person that oversaw Douyin’s development from 0 to 1 is a renowned expert in operations and user growth. Alex Zhu is the co-founder of Musical.ly, the app acquired by Bytedance in 2017 and merged with TikTok, is known as an expert product manager.
The adjustment comes at a time when TikTok’s is facing competition from Facebook and the diminishing trust towards Chinese internet products as a result of deteriorating Sino-US relations. In October, a recording of an internal Facebook conference call was leaked revealing that Facebook was wary of the rise of TikTok and listed it as a competitor.