In an effort to distance itself from its Chinese parent company, TikTok is moving operations away from China, but it struggles to find talented staff.
- As opposition to the video-sharing app grows in the U.S., TikTok is attempting to distance itself from parent company ByteDance.
- However, this maneuver has hit a snag as the company depends on several key local employees to handle the app’s functions.
- Several key TikTok executives have been moved to Singapore and the U.S. while the company has started hiring outside China.
- Even with these moves to separate TikTok from ByteDance, TikTok’s engineers remain in China, and ByteDance continues to hire TikTok employees within the country.
- TikTok employs more than 20,000 people—a quarter of that number are U.S. based.
- The majority of the company’s ongoing hiring is happening in the U.S., U.K., and Singapore, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Why it’s news
The Chinese social media app has faced growing opposition in the U.S. as more reports revealed the app’s close connection with Chinese state media.
Several states have banned the app on government electronic devices, citing security concerns over the app’s data collection and storage. In the federal government, both chambers of Congress have introduced legislation that would ban the app on federal government devices. The bill passed in the Senate Wednesday.
To appease foreign concerns, TikTok officials have been attempting to relocate their headquarters to alleviate foreign concerns. This effort began nearly three years ago after then-President Donald Trump announced plans to ban the app.
This year, TikTok has increased its efforts to move operations out of China, but it is having difficulty finding engineers and staff who can fill the new roles, the Wall Street Journal reports. Most of the company’s efforts have been based in Singapore, but a smaller talent pool and complications with work visas have complicated the process.
Some executives, such as CEO Liang Rubo, have relocated to Singapore. Several other project managers are located in either Singapore or the U.S.
However, U.S.-based TikTok managers have difficulty sticking around for a long time. After learning that they would have little influence in decision-making at TikTok, five U.S. executives left their positions—all within the last two years.
Three of the executives spoke anonymously with Forbes, saying that after beginning their department head position within the company, they were told to follow instructions from the ByteDance Beijing office.
The former department heads said that while TikTok does hire U.S. executives, their scope and responsibilities are diminished, leaving the majority of decision-making power to Beijing offices.
TikTok’s continued hiring efforts stand out against competitors like Facebook, who are cutting back on staff.