TikTok CEO Xu Qiu navigated his business between the West and China during his rapid rise, and the cultural sphere helped him secure a top job at one of the world’s largest technology companies.
Shaw, 40, and a former Goldman Sachs banker, is scheduled to appear before a House of Representatives committee on Thursday to discuss banning the app and reassuring Americans that their data is safe.
Studied at Harvard
Born and raised in Singapore, he was educated in London and Harvard Business School, and spent some of his early career doing venture capital deals in Asia, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
He then quickly moved into the C-suite as the CFO of the Chinese smartphone giant at the age of 32.
The young man runs TikTok from the company’s offices in Singapore, but he travels a lot, including to the United States, where he met his wife, a Taiwanese-American who grew up at Harvard.
Qiu took over the top position at TikTok after Kevin Mayer, a senior figure at The Walt Disney Company, left his post after three months, while the Trump administration made previous efforts to force the sale of the app to US investors.
In addition, English is the first language of the young man, and he, like most Singaporeans, is of Chinese descent.
He did the military service
His father worked in construction and his mother in accounting. He said he moved from a humble upbringing at the age of 12, when he scored high marks in a national exam, to an elite high school.
In parallel, he performed his mandatory military service for two and a half years, while he is in the ranks of the reserve service, which ends when he reaches the age of 50.
After completing his military service, he entered the University of London and remained in the British capital to work as a banker for Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
After an internship at meta business school and Facebook, he worked at venture capital firm DST Global. His high school Mandarin language qualified him to be her China-focused partner.
In 2012, he and others in a modest apartment started developing an app that suggested news articles to people based on factors such as how much time they had spent on previous stories.
That company was ByteDance, which would later go on to create TikTok. and its founder, the young Zhang Yiming, in whom Zhou and his partners invested.
The other investment he led was in Xiaomi Corp., the Chinese smartphone giant with global ambitions.
ByteDance and its founder
The company first hired him as chief financial officer, then had him run its business outside of China. He is the only one who stands out among his colleagues for his understanding of Chinese and Western business cultures.
In 2021, Zhang, who has been in contact with Qiu, asked to become CFO of Dancebyte, which, in addition to TikTok, runs other popular Chinese apps.