Chinese-owned social platform makes sweeping leadership changes in its largest market
TikTok is finalising a deal with the White House, which has raised concerns that the app’s links to its Chinese parent ByteDance could pose a security risk
TikTok’s US operations are undergoing a major restructuring as the social platform responds to a slowing economy and a depressed environment for digital advertising.
The reorganisation has resulted in sweeping leadership changes to the US business, the largest market for TikTok, owned by China-based parent company ByteDance.
The overhaul will see North America general manager Sandie Hawkins — who oversees business operations, sales and marketing across the region — transferred and placed in charge of TikTok Shop in the US, its ecommerce channel, according to five people with knowledge of the changes. It follows a restructure in Europe earlier this year.
此次重组导致 TikTok 美国业务领导层发生大规模变动。 TikTok 是 TikTok 最大的市场，由总部位于中国的母公司字节跳动(ByteDance)所有。
据5名知情人士透露，此次改革将导致北美区总经理桑迪•霍金斯(Sandie Hawkins)调任并负责 TikTok Shop 在美国的业务。霍金斯负责整个地区的业务运营、销售和营销。 TikTok Shop 是 TikTok Shop 在美国的电子商务渠道。在此之前，欧洲在今年早些时候进行了重组。
Hawkins’ move was announced internally on Monday at a meeting led by Blake Chandlee, an Austin, Texas-based executive who oversees global business solutions. Chandlee will assume Hawkins’ role on an interim basis.
“Under [Hawkins’] leadership, the team has become a significant player in the digital ads space . . . and she has always advocated for her team and clients, which has made us a better business,” Chandlee said in a note to staff on Monday.
“在(霍金斯的)领导下，这个团队已经成为数字广告领域的一个重要参与者… … 她一直在为她的团队和客户宣传，这让我们的业务变得更好,”钱德利周一在给员工的一份报告中表示。
“She will be a valuable partner . . . as [ecommerce] becomes a critical part of our client needs and TikTok builds on many of the native behaviors we already see on the platform.”
“随着(电子商务)成为我们客户需求的关键组成部分，TikTok 将成为一个有价值的合作伙伴，TikTok 将借鉴我们在该平台上已经看到的许多本地行为。”
Blake Chandlee will assume the role of North America general manager on an interim basis © Anna Gordon/FT 布雷克•钱德利(Blake Chandlee)将临时担任北美区总经理一职
Hawkins’ reassignment is part of a broader restructuring in the past four months that has seen less than 100 staff made redundant. The cuts include about 20 senior managers and new leadership has been recruited, three people familiar with the restructure said. Overall, headcount in the US has increased over the past year.
Other senior employees have already confirmed their roles were cut, including David Ortiz, former global head of ads business systems, who shared on social media that his role was “eliminated in a much larger reorganisation effort”.
The restructuring suggests that fast-growing TikTok is not immune to the digital advertising slowdown that has caused shares of Facebook parent Meta and Snapchat parent Snap to collapse in the past year.
此次重组似乎表明，快速增长的 TikTok 也未能免受数字广告业务放缓的影响。过去一年，数字广告业务放缓导致 Facebook 母公司 Meta 和 Snapchat 母公司 Snap 股价暴跌。
US advertisers are predicted to spend $65.3bn on social media this year, a year-on-year increase of just 3.6 per cent — around 10 times slower than in 2021, according to estimates from eMarketer.
据 eMarketer 估计，今年美国广告客户在社交媒体上的支出预计将达到653亿美元，同比增幅仅为3.6% ，约为2021年的10倍。
The reorganisation of TikTok’s US operations comes as the company is finalising a deal with the White House, which has raised concerns that the app’s links to its Chinese parent ByteDance could pose a security risk. The deal would allow it to keep operating but place limits on how US user data is stored.
TikTok 对其美国业务进行重组之际，该公司正与美国政府敲定一项协议。美国政府担心，TikTok 与其中国母公司字节跳动(ByteDance)的联系可能构成安全风险。该协议将允许谷歌继续运营，但对美国用户数据的存储方式施加了限制。
TikTok maintains that access to data for employees globally, including engineers in China, is limited and strictly controlled.
Two people with knowledge of the move said TikTok planned to replace Hawkins on a permanent basis with Sameer Singh, head of TikTok’s Asia-Pacific operations since July 2021. Singh originally joined ByteDance in August 2019.
两名知情人士表示，TikTok 计划让萨米尔•辛格(Sameer Singh)永久接替霍金斯，辛格自2021年7月起担任 TikTok 亚太业务主管。辛格最初于2019年8月加入字节跳动。
Singh’s appointment could be made official as soon as this month, but he is currently based in India and requires a work visa that might take until January, these people said.
TikTok told the Financial Times it was currently considering a number of candidates, including Singh.
Hawkins, who could not be immediately be reached for comment, is a former Adobe executive and has been with TikTok since June 2020.
霍金斯曾在 Adobe 担任高管，自2020年6月以来一直在 TikTok 工作。记者无法立即联系到他置评。
TikTok has previously replaced senior US executives with talent from abroad. For instance, in July it moved Fahad Osman from Dubai to New York, promoting him to head of global marketing from leading regional marketing for the Middle-East.
TikTok 此前曾用海外人才取代美国高管。例如，今年7月，该公司将法哈德•奥斯曼(Fahad Osman)从迪拜调到纽约，将他从 Middle-East 区域营销主管提升为全球营销主管。
The pressure on the digital advertising sector has driven social networking companies to diversify revenue streams. Meta, Snapchat and TikTok are experimenting with new formats including gaming and live shopping in a bid to be less reliant on advertising.
数字广告行业面临的压力，促使社交网络公司将收入来源多样化。Meta、 Snapchat 和 TikTok 正在尝试包括游戏和现场购物在内的新形式，以减少对广告的依赖。
TikTok Shop is a nascent feature that launched in the UK last year, where users can buy products from videos and live broadcasts on the app. The company plans to expand into North America, Spain, Ireland and Brazil over the next few months, according to two people familiar with the operations.
TikTok Shop 是去年在英国推出的一个新功能，用户可以通过该应用程序购买视频和直播产品。据两位知情人士透露，该公司计划在未来几个月扩张至北美、西班牙、爱尔兰和巴西。
TikTok confirmed it was expanding ecommerce to the US and continuing to evaluate further international expansion.
The shopping channel is already available across south-east Asia, where it has seen a higher success with users, especially in Indonesia, according to multiple people working on the offering.
E-commerce, in particular, has proved lucrative for ByteDance, which has seen ecommerce sales on Chinese sister app Douyin more than triple year on year. In China, sales from live stream shopping are expected to reach $423bn this year, according to management consultancy McKinsey.