ByteDance brings in an Alibaba Cloud alum to help expand its enterprise-oriented business

January 13, 2023 4:56 am

ByteDance, the TikTok owner, is ramping up the growth of its enterprise-facing business by actively recruiting experienced industry veterans.

Qi Junyuan, who was in charge of Alibaba Cloud Drive, has joined Feishu, ByteDance's Slack-like offering, Chinese tech news outlet 36Kr reported on Wednesday.

Qi has over ten years of experience in building enterprise-oriented products. He founded the work collaboration platform Teambition in 2011, which was acquired by Alibaba for $100 million in 2019. The entrepreneur has since joined Alibaba Cloud as head of the cloud storage business. In 2021, Qi left Alibaba and embarked on a new entrepreneurial journey.

The Beijing-headquartered social media upstart has increased its efforts to attract top SaaS industry talent in recent years in anticipation of a rapid expansion of its enterprise-facing business unit, Feishu, or known as Lark in overseas market.

A bunch of entrepreneurs, including Cheng Hao, founder of calendar software Sortime (朝夕日历), Chen Jinzhou, founder of low-code platform HIPA (黑帕云), and Deng Yunze, founder of video conferencing platform SOMO (蓝猫微会), has joined Feishu.

Feishu faces extremely intense competitions from Alibaba's DingTalk and Tencent's WeCom in mainland China. According to data intelligence company QuestMobile, as of November 2022, DingTalk has 253 million monthly active users (MAU), WeCom has 110 million MAU, and Feishu has only 9.3 million MAU.

Also, the work collaboration platform reportedly failed to meet the goal it set in 2021 of attracting more than 10 million daily active users (DAU).

In an effort to narrow the gap with the two giants, ByteDance has rapidly grown its Feishu team from over 2,000 in 2021 to over 8,000 in 2022. Whereas DingTalk boasts around 1,500 employees, WeCom has less than 1,000 employees.

As the increased investment did not produce the expected return, ByteDance let go of about 10% of Feishu's staff at the end of December.

In a recent company-wide meeting, Feishu's management admitted that the company is shifting its focus to international markets like Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe, and other regions as it is difficult to achieve profitability in the domestic market in the short term.