TikTok owner ByteDance cuts hundreds of jobs at multiple departments in China, sources say

ByteDance declined to comment.

Those laid off will be compensated based on the number of years of service, plus one month’s salary, one of the sources said.

ByteDance is also hiring simultaneously. The company’s website has some 10,000 job listings, ranging from engineering to marketing, in cities worldwide, including Beijing, London and Mountain View, California.

The lay-offs came after chief executive Liang Rubo, who used to head human resources before taking over the top job from founder Zhang Yiming in 2021, told employees in late December that the company needs to “get fit and beef up the muscle”, a phrase he has repeatedly used in the past year in a bid to streamline operations.

ByteDance is in for a challenging year as TikTok faces political headwinds in the US and an unpredictable regulatory environment in China. TikTok has been banned from all US federal government devices, while at least 19 states have blocked it from state-managed devices. Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House is also considering forcing a sale of TikTok’s US unit.

TikTok is owned by China’s ByteDance. Photo: Dreamstime/TNS

It is not the first time that the nearly decade-old company has cut jobs. It fired thousands in 2021 following Beijing’s ban on private tutoring, and in 2022 cut hundreds of jobs from its video game operations in Shanghai and Hangzhou.

Meanwhile, there is an air of uncertainty surrounding the company’s IPO plans. Chief financial officer Julie Gao told employees in September that ByteDance had no plans to go public.

One early investor in ByteDance, who declined to be named, said the company was not rushing plans for an IPO, adding there was no set schedule.

“There are just too many uncertainties,” the investor said.

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