ByteDance CEO warns employees against mediocrity amid AI disruption

CEO Liang Rubo made the statement during a call to ByteDance employees across the globe.

ByteDance CEO warns employees against mediocrity amid AI disruption

In a recent company-wide meeting ByteDance CEO Liang Rubo cautioned employees that the company is at risk of becoming complacent and could slip into mediocrity amid challenges from emerging startups.

The TikTok owner made the statement during a meeting in Singapore which was observed by ByteDance employees across the globe. Liang mentioned that the company's growth in recent years resulted in decreased efficiency as it continues to ignore the AI trend.

“Our company is not sensitive enough (to new technologies)," Liang said via Reuters. “For example, discussions about GPT did not appear in our half-year tech review until 2023, although GPT-1 was already released in 2018."

ByteDance is widely recognized as a leader in algorithms due to some of its flagship apps like TikTok, Douyin, and Toutiao. Despite being dubbed the “App Factory" for its frequent mobile app releases, ByteDance is lagging in the ongoing AI race to reshape the sector.

Shifting focus towards AI

Speaking about the company's delayed entry into AI foundation models, Liang noted that companies with superior models developed them between 2018 and 2021. “For many good startup teams, they are very familiar with the industry. They can quickly spot any new projects appearing on GitHub, and then they start seeking acquisition or partnership opportunities," he said.

The CEO went on to say that ByteDance faced heavy internal bureaucracy as it expanded, resulting in projects taking six months to complete, whereas a startup could accomplish them in one month.

Recently, the TikTok owner has increased its focus on AI and has discontinued its plans with video games. The company has been experimenting with several AI-powered chatbots, such as “Doubao" in China and “Cici" and “ChitChop" overseas.

Staff Writer

Isa Muhammad is a B2B writer and video games journalist with 5+ years experience covering games, interviewing industry professionals, tracking industry trends and understanding the market.