The job cuts have been implemented at Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok with about 600 million daily users, as well as the company’s gaming and real estate operations. Bytedance, the Chinese parent company of video app TikTok, has laid off hundreds of employees across multiple departments at the end of 2022 as part of a cost-cutting measure, the south china morning post reported on Tuesday.
The move has affected employees at Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok with 600 million daily active users, as well as its gaming and real estate operations, said the sources, who declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
The job cuts represent a small percentage of ByteDance’s workforce, one of the largest employers in China’s tech sector and with over 100,000 employees worldwide. As ByteDance is privately owned, it is not obliged to publicly disclose information related to its business.
ByteDance, the parent company behind TikTok, admitted this week that a handful of its employees, some based in China, inappropriately accessed TikTok data of U.S. users and two journalists when conducting an investigation attempting to snuff out the source of a damning leak.
TikTok CEO Shou Chew reportedly admitted the overreach in a memo sent to employees viewed by Bloomberg. The revelations follow a months-long internal investigation at the company spurred by a Forbes investigation earlier this year alleging the company planned to use the TikTok app to track certain U.S. users’ locations.
ByteDance’s investigation this week determined several employees accessed ID addresses and other personal data from a pair of BuzzFeed News and Financial Times reporters and an unknown number of U.S. users who they were in contact with. Those leaker hunters were reportedly attempting to see if the targeted users were within the proximity of ByteDance employees. Those efforts came up empty.
The layoffs came after CEO Liang Rubo told employees in December that the company needs to ‘get fit and beef up the muscle’ to streamline operations.
Job cuts are usually conducted in name of business optimization in China’s tech sector and it is also a common practice for employers to sack underperformers. Other Chinese internet giants, including Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, cut thousands of jobs in 2022.