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TikTok owner ByteDance hires CFO in a step towards IPO

BEIJING/HONG KONG (Reuters) - TikTok owner ByteDance has hired Xiaomi executive Shou Zi Chew for a newly created role as chief finance officer, in a sign that the tech company is moving towards a much-anticipated initial public offering of one or some of its businesses.

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ByteDance has been considering whether to go for a standalone public listing for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, or list some of its Chinese operations, including Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao, as a package in Hong Kong or Shanghai, Reuters has reported.

ByteDance has also been looking at a listing for its non-China business, which includes TikTok that is not available in China, in Europe or the United States.

The new CFO role will be ByteDance global operations’ only C-suite position besides Chief Executive Zhang Yiming.

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi said earlier on Wednesday in a filing to the Hong Kong Exchange that Chew had resigned.

Chew posted on his personal social media account that he will be based in Singapore for the new job.

Chew got to know ByteDance when he was working for private equity company DST, an early investor at ByteDance, Liang Rubo, ByteDance human resource chief, said in an internal memo to staff which was seen by Reuters. Chew had also worked at Goldman Sachs.

“I believe Chew’s accession can help us further expand our global business,” Liang said in the memo.

Earlier this year, ByteDance closed a fundraising that valued it at $180 billion, the world’s most valuable financing round in the private market.

TikTok had come under scrutiny during former U.S. president Donald Trump’s administration, which alleged that the app posed national security concerns as personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok has denied the allegation.

U.S. President Joe Biden’s new administration has paused a government lawsuit that could have resulted in a de facto ban on TikTok’s use in the United States.

Reporting by Yingzhi Yang, Julie Zhu and Ryan Woo, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman

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