Shou Zi Chew (TikTok CEO)

Jump to navigation Jump to search
Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok. Photo from People.


Early Life

Shou Zi Chew (born 1 January 1983) is a Singaporean businessman. He is the CEO of social networking company TikTok and the CFO of its parent company, ByteDance.[1]


Chew attended University College London and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2006. Thereafter, he attended Harvard Business School, where he earned his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in 2010.

At Harvard, he spent a summer interning for Facebook. At the time, it was just a startup.[2]

Personal Life

Chew and his spouse Vivian Kao. Photo from Harvard Business School Alumni.

Chew and his spouse Vivian Kao. Photo from Harvard Business School Alumni.

Chew is married to Chinese MBA Vivian Kao, whom he met while studying at Harvard Business School. The couple have 2 children together.[3] In August 2021, Chew was reported to have been in the early stages of acquiring a S$86M, 31,800sqft bungalow in the Queen Astrid Park neighborhood in Singapore.[4] While his exact net worth is not known to the public, it is estimated at around S$273M.[5]


Work experience

After graduating from UCL in 2006, Chew worked at Goldman Sachs for two years as an investment banker.[6] Chew was appointed CFO of Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi in 2015.[3] He stepped down from the position in April 2020, but held on to his role as International Business President until March 2021, when he fully disaffiliated from the company.[3]

Move to TikTok

From Xiaomi, Chew joined ByteDance, a technology MNC and TikTok’s parent company headquartered in Beijing as CFO in March 2021. Despite only having joined the company in March, he was offered the position of CEO at TikTok a mere 5 weeks later, in May of 2021.[7]

He replaced former CEO Kevin Mayer, who left the company after only 3 months in the role. Citing pressures imposed by the Trump administration to divest as the main reason for his departure, he expressed disappointment at the situation in an interview with CNBC, where in response to questions about whether he felt “screwed over” by his circumstances he responded “Yes. That’s the short answer.”[8][9] Under Chew’s leadership, TikTok has continued down its path of rapid growth, with over 1.2B monthly active users.[10]

News coverage

Called to testify on behalf of TikTok at the United States House of Representatives (2023)

Following a call to impose a ban on TikTok in the US, Chew was called to a hearing before the lawmakers and members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.[11][12] On 23 March 2023, Chew was heavily interrogated by officials, with questions reflecting both the US Republicans and Democrats’ distrust and skepticism towards TikTok.[12][13] Most of their criticisms were centered around national security concerns, particularly Chinese leadership of the application, as potential encroachment of Chinese influence via the business, moderation policies, and fear over China’s access to Americans’ private data.[12] In response, Chew defended his case and made consistent assurances on TikTok’s data security. [13][14][15] He also later reiterated that “American data will be stored on American soil, by an American company, overseen by American personnel”.[16]

To end off, Chew argued on the basis of TikTok’s similarity to other established platforms, including YouTube and Instagram.[15][17] He also stated that the platform has chosen to place stricter safeguards as compared to their competitors.

“The important message, that it is our responsibility to protect more than 150 million Americans who love and use our platform.”[17]

In a near-1.5 minute TikTok that the TikTok CEO posted online, he laid out the following commitments that TikTok will be continuing to make to its users:[17]

  • TikTok will continue to keep safety, especially for teenagers, a top priority.
  • TikTok will continue to protect your data from unauthorized foreign access.
  • TikTok will ensure that it remains a platform for free expression and that it cannot be manipulated by any government.
  • TikTok will be transparent, and give access to third party independent monitors to keep it accountable for its commitments.


  1. Canales, Katie. “Meet Shou Zi Chew, TikTok's 39-year-old CEO who got his start at Facebook and led a Chinese smartphone giant through one of the biggest tech ipos in history”. Yahoo! News. August 14, 2021. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  2. Global Ambition”. Harvard Business School Alumni. November 13, 2020. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Hale, Jacob. “Who is the CEO of TikTok? Shou Zi Chew Net Worth, history, Personal Life & More”. Dexerto. November 24, 2021. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  4. Lai-Lim, Cheryl. “TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi is acquiring a $86 million GCB: All you need to know”. Tatler Asia. August 11, 2021. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  5. Shou Zi Chew Bio, affair, relationship, net worth, ethnicity, girlfriend.Married Biography. March 6, 2022. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  6. Chew, Shou Zi. “ Shou Zi Chew LinkedIn Profile”. LinkedIn. n.d. Accessed 19 April 2022.
  7. Birch, Kate. “Bytedance CFO to TikTok CEO in 5 weeks: Who is Shou Zi Chew?”. Business Chief APAC. May 13, 2021. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  8. Feng, Coco. “Ex-tiktok CEO Kevin Mayer reveals backstory on his bytedance exit”. South China Morning Post. March 19, 2021. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  9. Shepardson, David & Beech, Eric. “Trump orders ByteDance to divest interest in U.S. tiktok operations within 90 days”. Reuters. August 15, 2020. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  10. Iqbal, Mansoor. “Tiktok revenue and Usage Statistics (2022)”. Business of Apps. February 24, 2022. Accessed on 19 April 2022.
  11. Cenite, Mark. “Commentary: How did the Singaporean CEO of TikTok do in Washington?”. The Straits Times. March 27, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Clayton, James. “TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew's Congress showdown: Five takeaways”. BBC. March 24, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Baker, Jalelah Abu. “TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi ‘tried the best he could’ in US Congress hearing, says analyst”. CNA. March 24, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  14. Yong, Charissa. “‘Earnest and temperate’: TikTok’s Singaporean CEO’s poise fails to sway sceptics in US Congress”. The Straits Times. March 25, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  15. 15.0 15.1 The Straits Times. “5 key moments from TikTok CEO Singaporean Chew Shou Zi’s combative hearing in US Congress”. The Straits Times. March 24, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  16. tiktok. “tiktok”. TikTok. March 25, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Lee, Amanda. “TikTok committed to keeping app safe, says CEO Chew Shou Zi after US Congress hearing”. The Straits Times. March 26, 2023. Accessed 27 March 2023.