Earlier this year, the Chinese internet company TikTok opened its new headquarters in the United States. The site will be located in Los Angeles, and the company plans to expand to the Silicon Valley.
New digs in Los Angeles
Previously, TikTok’s Los Angeles-based team has been working out of smaller office spaces. However, the newly opened Culver City facility is about 120,000 square feet in size. The company has enlisted the services of the global architecture firm Gensler to create the new space. The building is LEED Gold certified, which means it exceeds California’s energy efficiency and environmental quality standards.
The company did not skimp on the green features, and the office features several innovative technologies. Some of the more laudable include an indoor environmental quality improvement (OEMI), water conservation and a C02 emissions reduction strategy. The space also sports a stadium-style presentation space and a well-appointed kitchen complete with a sushi bar.
The space is a clear indication that TikTok has taken its first steps toward a US home base. According to sources, the company is on the hunt for a new US CEO. In the meantime, the company has made a handful of hires, including a number of high-profile LA-based execs.
The new space is a step forward in the company’s efforts to bring short-form mobile video to the masses. Some of the company’s biggest names include Abby Rao and Leslie Hannah Belle, who are both models. The company is also making a big push to bring its content creation platform to life. This will likely include the launch of a content-creation studio in the near future.
Considering the company’s recent expansion in the US, the move makes a lot of sense. The TikTok name is synonymous with fun and frolic and the new facility is a great way to further that reputation. While the company is still in the early stages of development, it has already become a major competitor to Facebook and Google. As the industry leader in short-form mobile video, TikTok has an aggressive growth plan in place. It is likely that we will see a whole new generation of short-form mobile videos in the not too distant future. This is the space’s best chance to prove its mettle and maybe even land a spot on the big screen. In the meantime, make sure to follow the company on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.
Plans to expand to Silicon Valley
Despite growing concerns about the company’s potential to be banned in the United States, TikTok plans to expand to Silicon Valley. The video platform is owned by Chinese tech conglomerate ByteDance. And it is looking to dramatically increase its global workforce.
Currently, TikTok has 4,658 employees. And it plans to hire more than 1,000 engineers at its Mountain View office. It also wants to make sure that U.S. users’ data is protected by a team in the U.S. The company is hiring experienced workers from its competitors to help solve problems with high-growth technology.
TikTok is a short-form video app that is popular with Gen Z. And while it has made a big splash in Southeast Asia, it is also doing well in North America, where its live streaming service is very popular.
The company is also working hard to recruit e-commerce and other talent in the U.S., according to a LinkedIn post. The job description includes roles such as influencer marketing, brand relations, games and more. Those with experience in e-commerce may be particularly valuable to the company, as it seeks to build partnerships with brands.
The company’s new North American office is near Facebook’s headquarters, and the space was previously occupied by What’sApp. But in recent months, several state politicians have vowed to ban the site, and three more are considering the ban. The state of Nebraska is expected to ban it in 2020.
Among the TikTok hires is David Hoctor, a former Facebook global accounts executive. He is joining TikTok to build partnerships with brands. He started at the company in April. He previously worked in the global accounts department at Facebook’s London office.
Another former Facebook employee, Blake Chandlee, joined TikTok as VP of global business solutions. He was previously Facebook’s vice president of global partnerships. He also served as Instagram’s director of market operations in EMEA.
TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, says that the company is still actively recruiting. He expects that the company will hire at least 10,000 employees in the United States over the next three years. And it has already begun changing its data protection policy to comply with US laws.
CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appointment
Earlier this year, TikTok appointed Singapore-based Shou Zi Chew as its new CEO. Chew is an MBA from Harvard Business School and has worked at some of the most respected companies in the technology and finance industries. He led the team that helped secure one of the most important financing deals for the company.
TikTok has been a leading global platform for young people and it has grown rapidly in recent years. In October, the company counted two billion downloads of its mobile app. It is estimated that there are about 100 million users in the U.S. and it was previously considered a potential target for Microsoft’s acquisition.
But TikTok has faced intense scrutiny and was threatened with a ban by the U.S. government if it did not sell its American operations to a US-based entity. The company denied that it tracked its user locations in the U.S. and disputed that it shares user data with Beijing ByteDance Technology, the Chinese company that has a stake in ByteDance.
Chew’s appointment was a strategic move, partly influenced by optics. TikTok’s public relations team said that Chew would be “responsible for TikTok’s product strategy, product development, business and legal compliance.” However, the company’s growth team doesn’t report directly to Chew.
Chew was previously the chief financial officer at Xiaomi, a Chinese smartphone maker. He joined the company in 2015 and was tasked with building its international business. He also facilitated Xiaomi’s first-ever public offering.
He then joined Yuri Milner’s private equity firm DST as a partner for five years. He then went on to become the CEO of Xiaomi’s international business unit. He was also a founding member of the investor group that was one of the earliest investors in ByteDance. In May, ByteDance co-founder Zhang Yiming announced that he would step down as the company’s chief executive. He will be replaced by Liang Rubo, the company’s founder.
The change will have an impact on the future of TikTok and ByteDance. The company plans to restructure its business to meet regulatory requirements. It has reorganized its executives to ensure that global teams can support its growth.
Restrictions in India and Pakistan
Several countries in Asia have taken a stance to restrict free speech online. From Australia to Turkey, regulators are tightening the reins on what is and is not allowed to be posted online. This is especially true in the region where social media giants struggle to operate in a regulated environment.
In the Balochistan province, there has been a spate of attacks against political parties and individuals. In the city of Turbat, for example, an armed man attacked a National Party politician. He was then sentenced to death for the murder of a local resident. The attack was claimed by the Balochistan Liberation Front. In addition, a Frontier Corps soldier was found guilty of the August 2020 murder of Hayat Baloch. Various civil society organizations also raised concerns about pre-election interference. Moreover, independent observers noted improvements in the election commission’s management of the polling process.
In Pakistan, the government has launched a new set of social media rules called the RBUOC Rules. These rules are being challenged by the Islamabad High Court. The rules were criticized for harming the culture of easy-doing-business in the country. However, the Peshawar High Court ruled to lift the ban on TikTok and directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to filter objectionable online content.
The app had been installed 43 million times in the country before it was banned. Affected Entities should evaluate their business dealings and ensure that they are taking measures to protect their users from online harms.
The US is also looking to impose a ban on TikTok. In September 2020, President Donald Trump threatened to do so. He cited a number of reasons for the move, including clashes with China at the Himalayas, public order, and defense of India. The company had recently appointed a Chinese CEO, Shou Zi Chew, to replace interim CEO Vanessa Pappas. The company has scaled down its operations in India since its ban.
These restrictions in India and Pakistan are a real threat to the growth of the app. If the US and other nations are going to take these steps, it is imperative that the companies involved take responsibility for the actions of their users.