October 29, 2020

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ByteDance gives bonuses to staff after TikTok turbulence

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TikTok owner ByteDance is handing out cash bonuses to all of its 60,000-plus global workforce as it faces turmoil over the future of its business.

The payout of a half-month’s wages to staff worldwide, which will cost the company hundreds of millions of renminbi, comes as the Beijing-based company faces a ban on the video-sharing app in its two most important foreign markets, the US and India.

In the US, the Trump administration has ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok within 90 days. TikTok is suing the administration.

In India, TikTok has been banned alongside dozens of other Chinese apps. ByteDance employs about 2,000 people in the country and has not laid off any staff, the company said, adding that Indian employees would also receive the bonuses.

TikTok’s woes prompted the former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to quit as the company’s chief executive last month after only weeks in the role.

The turbulence had caused worries about job security, one person at ByteDance said, and Zhang Yiming, the company’s chief executive, has written several letters to staff to try to reassure them. 

ByteDance told employees on Tuesday the bonuses were for “jointly facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the changing macro environment and other challenges”, according to a memo seen by the Financial Times. 

The company wanted to “thank everyone for working hard together to overcome challenges during this period”, the letter said. 

The Chinese telecoms company Huawei similarly rewarded employees last year for helping it weather US sanctions imposed by the Trump administration. The company ploughed resources into developing homegrown technologies to replace US-made components but has faced ever-expanding US sanctions.

Additional reporting by Stephanie Findlay in India

2020-09-08 07:44:27

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