Zhang Yiming
Courtesy of ByteDance


Founder / CEO

ByteDance founder Zhang made TikTok the world’s buzziest shortform social video platform, but his victory lap has been stalled by U.S. regulatory scrutiny about his company’s ties to the Chinese government and its potential access to user data. Then, not long after TikTok users bragged they caused low turnout at a Trump rally by reserving seats to leave empty, the president signed an executive order that would ban the app from the country unless Beijing-based ByteDance sold it to a U.S. owner. But TikTok is just a small part of Zhang’s empire, as the combination of TikTok’s Chinese counterpart, Douyin, news aggregator Jinri Toutiao and video platform Xigua has made ByteDance the second biggest player in the Chinese digital ad market.


  • Toutiao
  • Kuxun


  • Nankai University (China)

Variety Honors

  • 2019 Variety500 Honoree
  • 2020 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

ByteDance Co-Founder Zhang Yiming to Step Down as CEO

ByteDance Co-Founder Zhang Yiming to Step Down as CEO

Bytedance co-founder Zhang Yiming said Thursday that he will step down as chief executive and transition to a new position. He will be succeeded by fellow co-founder Liang Rubo, ByteDance’s current head of human resources.The news was announced in an internal memo to employees. It marks the most significant corporate change to the TikTok parent company since its founding in 2012. The firm was the first Chinese tech company to create a product with true global cross-over appeal, and has...


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