The founder of TikTok and co-founder of ByteDance , Zhang Yiming has set up an investment company in Hong Kong, indicating he’s planning a new chapter after quitting his leadership roles at the social media giant in 2021. Cool River Venture HK, incorporated last week, lists Zhang as its sole director, a filing from the Hong Kong Companies Registry shows. Its only shareholder is a Cayman Islands vehicle named Galaxy LLC.
Zhang is creating a new venture in Hong Kong just as the city seeks to lure back rich people after years of isolation and population decline during Covid. The government is planning tax cuts and other measures to attract at least 200 family offices in setting up or expanding operations there by the end of 2025.
ByteDance’s co-founder is among the top tech executives who have quit their corporate roles as China cracked down on the wealthy in a “common prosperity” drive to reduce inequality. In recent years, he’s frequently travelled to Singapore and has donated money to an education fund in his hometown, joining other tycoons in giving back to society.
Meanwhile, ByteDance’s US short-video app TikTok has also been facing headwinds: its chief CEO sat through a gruelling five-hour congressional hearing in March where lawmakers repeatedly questioned him about the unit’s Chinese ownership and Beijing’s ability to access the data of millions of Americans. Last week, the governor of Montana signed a measure prohibiting the app’s download by the general public, a ban the company is seeking to stop. Zhang, who holds a Hong Kong ID card, has a fortune estimated at US$42.3-billion.
Chinese media outlet Yicai reported the Cool River Venture incorporation earlier. A ByteDance representative didn’t have any immediate comment.