ByteDance’s Singapore Workspace

ByteDance’s Singapore Workspace Not Impacted By China’s Tutoring Ban

SINGAPORE – The local office of ByteDance, the owner of popular video app TikTok, is unlikely to be impacted by the mass retrenchment of workers in China who are involved in education technology products, according to a recent report from The Straits Times.

Last month, the state council, the highest governing body of China, introduced new rules prohibiting for-profit firms from offering tutoring services for core curriculum subjects. It also banned foreign investment in such businesses. The issuance of new tutoring licences was also stopped, and all existing service providers were required to register as non-profits.

Consequently, Bloomberg reported last week that ByteDance has fired hundreds of workers in its online education division to comply with the government’s new rules.

An insider told the New York-based news outlet that many employees involved in ByteDance’s education technology products like Qingbei, GoGoKid, and Guagua Long were informed that they were being retrenched with compensation.

At least hundreds of staff were laid off, while other workers were transferred to different departments. At one point, the company’s education technology products division had over 10,000 workers, including tutors.

But while ByteDance is now reducing its exposure to China’s education consumer market, the retrenchment is unlikely to impact its operations in Singapore, as the clampdown on tutoring is restricted to China.

Last October, it was reported that Bytedance inked an office leasing agreement to relocate to a large office in Singapore at One Raffles Quay (ORQ). Specifically, the tech giant agreed to rent 3 office floors collectively spanning more than 60,000 sq ft.

The move was in line with its expansion plans here and would support its plan to expand its presence in Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore, a country that is striving to attract more multinational corporations (MNCs) and investments amidst the ongoing global health crisis.

In March 2021, The Financial Times reported that ByteDance had started looking for more staff here. Specifically, a job analytics database showed that the company posted 338 job ads in Singapore over the past 6 months.

Roles it wanted to fill included engineers and senior managers for TikTok, as well as personnel for its enterprise software business Lark and other products.

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