Zhang Yiming, CEO of ByteDance—a $75 billion tech conglomerate from China that is behind some of the world’s most popular apps—needed help.
Late last year, TikTok, the company’s app for sharing short videos, was exploding in popularity. It became the first social app from China to hit it big in the west. But the U.S. government, locked in a tense trade war with China, was breathing down Zhang’s neck. American officials worried the company couldn’t be trusted to protect users’ private data from the Chinese government.