- TitleCEO, China
- 2020 Rank45
In March 2020, Zhang became China CEO of ByteDance, one of the world’s most valuable startups and the parent company of viral video app TikTok. The job puts her in charge of the company’s formidable China portfolio, which includes Douyin, the über-popular Chinese version of TikTok, and news service Toutiao. In January 2021, Zhang oversaw the launch of Douyin Pay, the platform’s own digital payments service that lets Douyin’s 600 million daily active users buy goods and services within the app. The new platform bolsters Douyin’s burgeoning e-commerce business and competes with China’s dominant payments giants WeChat Pay and Alipay. ByteDance revenue jumped 111% to $34.3 billion in 2020 and profits soared 93% to $19 billion. Its valuation in December 2020 stood at $180 billion, while some private equity investors have valued ByteDance at up to $425 billion this year. Still, China’s tech crackdown looms large over the world’s biggest private tech firm. In August the Chinese government appointed a handpicked director to the board of Beijing ByteDance, the company’s domestic subsidiary.
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