The elevated regulatory pressures are main some web executives to attempt to keep away from drawing extra consideration to themselves — none extra so than Jack Ma, Alibaba’s billionaire co-founder and considered one of China’s most celebrated entrepreneurs.
Mr. Ma stepped down as Alibaba’s chief government in 2013 — additionally, in keeping with the corporate, to give attention to grand strategic course. He stayed on as Alibaba’s government chairman till 2019. However even in retirement, he stays the corporate’s most recognizable face.
Regulators summoned Mr. Ma and different executives at Ant Group, Alibaba’s fintech sister firm, shortly earlier than ordering a halt to Ant’s deliberate preliminary public choices final fall. Mr. Ma is Ant’s controlling shareholder and stood to extend his wealth significantly with the share gross sales. Chinese language monetary regulators later ordered Ant to overtake its enterprise to handle issues that it was exploiting regulatory loopholes. Mr. Ma has made himself scarce in public ever since.
Final 12 months, Colin Huang, the founding father of Pinduoduo, a fast-growing purchasing app and Alibaba rival, handed over the C.E.O. job whereas remaining firm chairman. Eight months later, Mr. Huang relinquished that put up, as nicely. Pinduoduo mentioned he needed to pursue analysis within the meals and life sciences.
ByteDance has shuffled its prime ranks a number of occasions for the reason that starting of 2020. Just lately, it named its chief monetary officer, Shouzi Chew, to serve concurrently as chief government of TikTok, based mostly in Singapore. That put up was vacated final 12 months by Kevin Mayer, a former Disney government who left after lower than 4 months as TikTok grew to become a geopolitical piñata between China and the US.
Mr. Zhang has led ByteDance with a give attention to world enlargement. He has discouraged inside hierarchies and tried to domesticate a self-motivated work pressure in order that the corporate can proceed rising with out dropping the agility of a start-up.
“Typically, when firms mature and increase, many fall into the entice of the C.E.O. turning into overly central — listening to displays, dealing with approvals and making selections reactively,” Mr. Zhang wrote in his letter to staff. “This results in an overreliance on present concepts already within the firm.”