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CHINA BRIEF | “ByteDance will need to accept misunderstandings for a while,” says Zhang Yiming

Overly patriotic Chinese internet users curse the entrepreneur as a traitor to China.

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In response to angry Chinese netizens scolding him as a traitor for considering a TikTok US buyout, ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming has released an internal letter on August 4 to employees in China, stressing the company’s Chinese roots and the challenges stemming from rising anti-China attitudes.

“I understand very well that people have high expectations for a global company set up by the Chinese, but there is no sufficient and accurate information. In addition, the [Chinese] public now are resentful of many behaviors of the current US government, so it is easy to criticize us very strongly,” reads the letter, titled Don’t worry about what people think, be patient and do the right thing, in which Zhang also expressed his gratitude to the domestic team.

Zhang also stated that not all current information about the company and ongoing situation can be made available to the public, and that “ByteDance will need to accept misunderstandings for a while.”

He added that the US government’s pretense of protecting national security by scrutinizing TikTok’s musical.ly deal was only an excuse to totally block the app.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “China Brief” section, where KrASIA’s reporters will provide quick daily updates about the tech ecosystem in China.