TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 1 billion monthly active users. But who is the person behind this global phenomenon? Meet Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok and the CFO of its parent company, ByteDance.
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Shou Zi Chew is a Singaporean businessman and entrepreneur who has been leading TikTok since May 2021. He took over from Kevin Mayer, who resigned after less than four months on the job amid political pressure from the Trump administration to sell TikTok's US operations to an American company.
Chew has a remarkable track record in the tech industry, having worked at some of the most influential companies in the sector. He started his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, where he advised on mergers and acquisitions, IPOs, and debt financing deals.
He then joined DST Global, a venture capital firm that invested in some of the biggest names in tech, such as Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and Airbnb. Chew was part of the team that led DST's early investment in ByteDance in 2013, when it was still a relatively unknown startup.
In 2015, Chew moved to Xiaomi, one of China's largest smartphone makers and a rival to Apple and Samsung. He served as Xiaomi's CFO and international business president, helping it grow its global presence and achieve a successful IPO in 2018.
In March 2021, Chew returned to ByteDance as its first CFO, overseeing its financial operations and strategy. Two months later, he was appointed as TikTok's CEO, taking on the challenge of navigating the app's complex regulatory and competitive landscape.
Chew is known for his strategic vision, financial acumen, and global perspective. He is fluent in English and Mandarin, and has lived and worked in Singapore, London, Hong Kong, Beijing, and Los Angeles. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from University College London and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
As TikTok's CEO, Chew is responsible for driving its growth and innovation, while ensuring its safety and security for its users and creators. He also has to deal with the ongoing scrutiny from US lawmakers and regulators, who have raised concerns about TikTok's data privacy practices and potential ties to the Chinese government.
Chew has testified before Congress in March 2023, where he defended TikTok's autonomy from ByteDance and its commitment to relocate all US user data to servers outside of China by the end of the year. He also highlighted TikTok's efforts to protect its young users from harmful content and promote their mental health and well-being.
Chew has said that he believes TikTok has a positive impact on society by providing a platform for creativity, expression, and connection. He has also expressed his admiration for TikTok's community of users and creators, who he says are "the heart and soul" of the app.
Chew is one of the most influential leaders in the tech world today, but he remains low-profile and humble. He rarely gives interviews or makes public appearances, preferring to focus on his work and his family. He is married with two children, who he says are also avid TikTok users.