Kelly Zhang August 2020 min 1

Bytedance

Kelly Zhang

CEO, China, Bytedance (Tik Tok)

Tik Tok has been the most talked-about app of the past year. What's less discussed is the huge success of its parent company, ByteDance, which by January owned six of the top 10 apps in the China iOS App Store.

ByteDance in China is headed by Kelly Zhang, who assumed the position of CEO in March, after heading up Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.

Zhang joined ByteDance in 2014 after the company acquired a photo-sharing app she had cofounded. She was originally in charge of ByteDance’s earliest product, Neihan Duanzi, a video- and meme-sharing app eventually shut down by authorities in 2018 alleging “inappropriate content.”

By January of this year she'd grown Douyin to 400 million active users, up 150 million from a year before. In her new role she'll be responsible for ByteDance’s products in the domestic market, leading product management and operations, marketing, and partnerships.

Alongside Douyin, her brand portfolio includes Toutiao, which translates as "headlines," a popular China-based news-recommendation engine, and Xigua Video ("Watermelon Video"), a platform for longer-form video content.