ByteDance AI research head to leave as pressure mounts on TikTok

FILE PHOTO: Visitors are seen at the booth of Bytedance Technology, which owns news aggregator app Jinri Toutiao and short video app Tik Tok, or Douyin, at the China International Software Expo in Beijing, China June 29, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

Beijing-based ByteDance said on Tuesday the head of its artificial intelligence lab will leave the company, as its short-video app TikTok faces U.S. scrutiny over security and privacy issues.

Ma Wei-Ying joined ByteDance from Microsoft to become a vice president and head of the AI lab in 2017.

His departure comes as TikTok faces regulatory challenges across the globe, and a potential ban by the U.S. government over suspicions Beijing could force its Chinese owner to turn over user data.

“We are extremely grateful to Wei-Ying for his important contribution to ByteDance,” a ByteDance spokeswoman said.

Ma will leave ByteDance this week, according to a person familiar with the matter. It is unclear who would replace him.

Ma did not immediately respond to a request to comment.

Trained in Taiwan and the United States, Ma was assistant managing director of Microsoft Research Asia before taking the post at ByteDance, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Technology news website The Information first reported Ma’s departure and said he planned to take a position at China’s Tsinghua University.

Reuters has reported that ByteDance is expanding its engineering and research team in Mountain View, California, and had hired more than 150 engineers there.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.