ByteDance founder asks for removal of monument labeling him 'spiritual idol'

By Dat Nguyen   February 17, 2024 | 12:00 am PT
ByteDance founder asks for removal of monument labeling him 'spiritual idol'
Zhang Yiming, founder of TikTok's parent company ByteDance. Photo by Reuters
Zhang Yiming, the founder of TikTok's parent company ByteDance, requested a village in his birth province to dismantle a stone monument that labeled him as a "spiritual idol."

The stone tablet, erected at the end of 2022, celebrated Zhang's 2 million yuan (US$280,000) donation to a temple in Kongfu Village, Fujian province, in honor of his ancestors, according to the South China Morning Post.

The monument, a traditional method of acknowledging significant contributions, was removed at Zhang's behest, according to Chinese online technology media outlet

But two residents of Kongfu Village, when contacted by the South China Morning Post, reported being unaware of the monument's existence.

Zhang’s company was also described as "a rare successful example of combining scientific invention with wealth creation in China", which makes Zhang "a spiritual idol for billions for young entrepreneurs".

Since resigning as ByteDance's chairman in November 2021, Zhang has kept a low profile. ByteDance is known for running TikTok and its Chinese counterpart, Douyin.

When Zhang resigned as CEO of the company several months before that, he said: I'm not very social, preferring solitary activities like being online, reading, listening to music, and contemplating what may be possible."

Zhang owns 20% to 30% of ByteDance and holds over 50% of voting rights, people with knowledge of the matter previously have told Reuters.

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