ByteDance, the Beijing-based tech company worth nearly $200 billion that got crosswise with the Trump administration on national security grounds, has hired its first CFO, Shou Zi Chew, a move largely interpreted to signal a coming IPO.
Chew will arrive at ByteDance, which owns video-sharing platform TikTok, on March 29, after nearly six years at smartphone giant Xiaomi Technology, also based in Beijing.
- “I will soon join ByteDance as CFO and return to Singapore, my hometown,” Chew wrote in a Wednesday tweet. The new CFO role will be ByteDance’s only C-suite position, aside from CEO and co-founder Zhang Yiming, Reuters reported.
Chew has served as president of Xiaomi’s international business since 2019; prior to that, he spent nearly five years as its CFO.
While Chew was in the finance chief seat, in 2018, Xiaomi went public on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which made it the third-most valuable publicly traded smartphone maker, behind Apple and Samsung.
He began his career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs, and later received his MBA from Harvard Business School.
Chew’s hire at ByteDance follows months of U.S.-China tensions stemming from former President Donald Trump’s allegations that TikTok poses a threat to national security.
Last year, the Trump administration threatened to ban Tik Tok and sell its U.S. operations to a group of American companies. Following Trump’s loss at a second term, the acquisition deal was “indefinitely shelved,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
President Joe Biden’s administration has paused the lawsuit that could have delivered “a de facto ban” on TikTok’s United States presence, Reuters said.
Backed by General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, ByteDance closed a fundraising round in December that valued it at $180 billion: the private market’s most valuable financing round in history. In 2020 alone, its revenue more than doubled, to about $35 billion.
ByteDance has been considering going public with its properties, including TikTok’s Chinese version, called Douyin, in Hong Kong, sources told Bloomberg.
TikTok, ByteDance’s flagship offering, is one of the most popular apps in the world, boasting over 100 million American users.