TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew appointed to lead the new social app Lemon8

June 1, 2023 3:03 am

ByteDance has given TikTok CEO Zhou Shouzi more responsibility, putting him in charge of the new social media app Lemon8, The Information reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Previously, Lemon8 head Stephanie Cheng reported to ByteDance executive Alex Zhu, according to the report. Following the upper management shift, she will move from Shanghai to Singapore and will report to Chew. 

Cao Zhen, the head of ByteDance’s music streaming app Resso, which operates in Brazil, India and Indonesia, is already based in Singapore and also reports to Chew.

Lemon8 is a photo-sharing social media platform that initially launched in Japan in 2020 before expanding its user base to Southeast Asia.

The platform made its entrance into the US market in February 2023, a strategic move by ByteDance during a time when its flagship app TikTok came under scrutiny by the U.S. government over data security concerns and could face a ban.

In its early days in the US, Lemon8 quickly gained popularity due to a combination of traffic support from TikTok and paid partnerships with influencers. The app topped the charts in the App Store's Lifestyle category in late March and early April 2023.

However, the buzz seems to have subsided, with the app now significantly falling to the 70th spot in the category. This transition in rankings indicates that Lemon8 is now facing challenges in maintaining its early success and user engagement.

By placing Lemon8 in Chew's hands, ByteDance is signaling its commitment to expanding the app's overseas presence, particularly in the US. The move also appears to be an attempt to distance the app from its Chinese roots as a precautionary measure to avoid potential future data security issues.