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TikTok tycoon Zhang Yiming calls Singapore home. So do other Chinese tech titans

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The billionaire spent much of 2022 overseas, using Singapore as a primary base, The Information reported at the time, fuelling speculation he had applied for foreign citizenship. TikTok included Zhang’s status in a section outlining influential figures at the company.

Like many of China’s corporate elite, several of ByteDance’s honchos have shown a predilection for the prosperous city state in past years.

Zhang years ago handed leadership at ByteDance to fellow co-founder and college roommate Liang Rubo, who is now also based in Singapore. TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi himself is Singaporean. Other senior executives for ByteDance’s Chinese operations, including commercialisation chief Zhang Lidong, remain in their home country.

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Singaporeans fume over US lawmaker grilling of TikTok CEO

Singaporeans fume over US lawmaker grilling of TikTok CEO

Zhang’s 21 per cent slice of ByteDance is worth more than US$40 billion, based on the company’s US$268 billion valuation during a recent share buy-back programme. The filing also shows Zhang has held onto his shares over the past year, since TikTok’s CEO revealed his boss’s stake of around 20 per cent during a Congressional hearing.

Zhang’s current status emerged after TikTok filed a lawsuit against legislation requiring ByteDance to hive off its most successful global invention. The bill sailed through Congress and US President Joe Biden signed it into law in April, beginning a 270-day countdown for a sale or a US prohibition of the popular video-sharing platform.

The lawsuit affirms expectations that ByteDance doesn’t intend to find a buyer for TikTok as the deadline approaches. Instead, the Chinese firm wants the law declared unconstitutional, saying it violates the First Amendment.

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