One of the founding members of ByteDance, the Chinese tech firm responsible for the short video app TikTok, has resigned to start a new business venture. This follows the exit of two other former ByteDance executives, Louis Yang Luyu and Wang Jingjin, who both left the company for generative AI start-ups.
But unlike his peers, Ren Lifeng, who helped set up Douyin in 2016, Ren is instead pursuing a new career in cross-border e-commerce. Chasing after the astronomical success of Chinese-owned e-commerce platforms SHEIN and Temu, Ren has founded a new company called Beijing Shumei Wanwu Technology Co. with a registered capital of 1 million RMB (139, 000 USD).
According to the WeChat tech blog Tech Planet, Ren’s e-commerce business might follow a similar model to the Canadian platform Shopify, on which sellers can easily create self-hosted online storefronts via the admin features on the backend of the website. This is as opposed to a marketplace model like the one used by Amazon, which earns revenue by charging sellers a commission fee for handling transactions between buyers and sellers. The platform model, by contrast, usually relies on a more diverse set of income streams, including ad revenue, subscription fees, and in-app purchases.
Beijing Shumei Wanwu Technology Co. has reportedly secured funding from IDG and HongShan, the Chinese branch of Sequoia Capital, and currently has a valuation of 50 million USD.