Another post-80s entrepreneur stepped down as CEO. In the past year, young and powerful Internet entrepreneurs have started a semi-retirement model. The new generation of CEOs stepped onto the stage of history. On the evening of October 29, Kuaishou announced that co-founder Su Hua had stepped down as CEO. Co-founder Cheng Yixiao assumed the position. Su Hua will continue to serve as chairman, executive director, and member of the remuneration committee, responsible for formulating the company’s long-term strategy. Cheng Yixiao is responsible for the company’s daily operations and business development, and reports to Su Hua.
Kuaishou defines this change as the adjustment of the division of labor between the two founders. Unlike the previous abdication of Pinduoduo founder Huang Zheng and ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming, Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao are both founders, and their voting rights in Kuaishou have not changed, but their management roles are more clear. This adjustment is expected to further improve the company’s organizational efficiency and management efficiency, and promote the company’s overall business development.
After nearly ten years of starting a business, it took less than a year to bring Kuaishou to the market.HuaweiWhy did you join the “resignation tide”? For new dreams, or to accelerate entry into new competition topics?
Power changes, but the arena has not retreated
As the original founder of Kuaishou, Cheng Yixiao is actually returning to the position of CEO this time. Cheng Yixiao, a technical background, worked on Renren.com from 2009 to 2011iPhoneClient development. After that, he started his own business and made GIF fast hands. This is an original mobile application for users to create and share animated pictures, and it is also the prototype of Kuaishou.
After this application was noticed by Zhang Fei, a partner of Wuyuan Capital, he invested RMB 2 million in angel round investment. Two years later, GIF Kuaishou encountered a development bottleneck. Under the advice of investors, Cheng Yixiao and Su Hua met and merged the team and officially became partners.
At that time, Cheng Yixiao not only surrendered the CEO position, but also gave the shares of Suhua Company. After Kuaishou was listed, Suhua held 55.79% of the A shares, which was higher than Cheng Yixiao’s 44.21%.
Su Hua is also a serial entrepreneur. Before entering Kuaishou, he worked for Google and Baidu successively, and then started his own business. In 2013, Su Hua joined Kuaishou as CEO and Cheng Yixiao as Chief Product Officer. After that, Kuaishou introduced an algorithm recommendation system, opening the era of short video.
During his tenure as chairman and CEO, Su Hua was mainly responsible for making strategic and key decisions, including strategic directions, strategic investments and acquisitions, and overall company management. Cheng Yixiao is solely responsible for product-related matters, including e-commerce, games, and other new business incubation, as well as the maintenance and development of the ecosystem.
Under the leadership of Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao, Kuaishou has diversified its business in the past ten years, from short video business to live broadcast business and video e-commerce business, and the organization is continuously expanding and upgrading.
Just 9 months ago, Kuaishou just stood on a new starting point for listing. Under such a stage, what will Suhua’s withdrawal from the company’s overall business and operation management bring to Kuaishou?
Hand over the stick CEO, focus on new directions
Judging from the existing information, there are several reasons for Su Hua’s resignation as CEO.
From an external perspective, according to the relevant provisions of the “Hong Kong Stock Exchange Securities Listing Rules”, the roles of chairman and chief executive officer need to be distinguished. Su Hua previously served as chairman and CEO of Kuaishou, and now he has delegated CEO power to Kuaishou co-founder Cheng Yixiao, which complies with this requirement.
Previously, both co-founders, Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao’s rights and responsibilities within the company were not completely clear. With the change of management roles, Su Hua will focus more on the company’s overall strategic planning and development, and will also have more time and energy devoted to the exploration of new directions; Cheng Yixiao will focus on the company’s overall business and operation management. This adjustment is expected to further improve the company’s organizational efficiency and management efficiency, and better promote the company’s overall business development.
In fact, in order to better promote business and further improve efficiency, in September this year, Kuaishou has launched a new round of organizational structure adjustment in the direction of strengthening the closed loop of the business unit, transforming from a functional structure to a business unit structure.
In this adjustment, multiple core business units including Kuaishou’s main site product operations, e-commerce, commercialization, etc. have achieved business closed loops. Among the functional departments in the middle and Taiwan, including R&D, data analysis, etc., are involved in strong business Relevant, will be divided into various business divisions in the direction of strengthening business closed-loop, to provide organizational support for further improving the efficiency and fluency of business organization operations. In addition, Kuaishou has also set up a main station production and transportation line to consolidate the main station product department, operation department, user growth department, game ecology, search and other businesses. Four major business divisions, e-commerce division, commercialization division, internationalization division, and game division, have basically taken shape.
In addition to improving efficiency, another purpose of the adjustment of Kuaishou’s organizational structure is to further tap the room for growth.
In February 2021, Kuaishou went public, with an increase of 160.9% on the first day of listing, and a market value of more than one trillion Hong Kong dollars. It is considered the hottest new stock in history. After its listing, Kuaishou’s stock price reached a maximum of 417.8 Hong Kong dollars, a 263% increase from the issue price.
However, after reaching the highest point, the performance could not support the high valuation, and the Kuaishou share price was higher. In the first half of the year, the closing price of Kuaishou was 69.4% higher than the issue price; in August, Kuaishou entered the lifting period, and its share price plunged 84% to a low point.
Today, the market is gradually calming down, and Kuaishou has entered a long way to return to value. In addition to the steady growth track, it is also looking for greater innovation and breakthroughs to face unknown competition.
Su Hua once said, “If we have always wanted to achieve a great product, now we want to achieve a great company.” But behind great companies need more great products. Compared with the product matrix of Bytedance, Kuaishou’s ecology is more centered on Kuaishou. Although Kuaishou has been launching various new apps, it has not been able to make outstanding products.
Nowadays, in the field of short video live broadcast, there is Douyin before and the WeChat video account catching up. In the face of huge traffic pressure, Kuaishou is in an uncomfortable situation.
The change of Su Hua’s role also means breaking away from huge corporate affairs and focusing on longer-term strategic directions and opportunities. After all, in an extremely fierce external environment, Kuaishou also desperately needs new stories.
Young entrepreneurs who retreat from the rapids
In recent years, the heads of Internet companies have retired one after another, or withdrew from the company’s daily operation and management, focusing on strategic matters, or investing in more cutting-edge areas.
On May 20th, Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming announced that he would step down as CEO. Bytedance co-founder Liang Rubo will take over as the new CEO. The handover will be completed by the end of 2021. As early as July last year, Pinduoduo founder Huang Zheng stepped down as CEO, and resigned as chairman in March this year, and handed over to a new generation of managers. In addition, Momo founder Tang Yan also announced his retirement as CEO in October 2020.
Entrepreneurs born in the 1980s have chosen to retreat bravely. On the one hand, this means that competition in the field of Internet technology is more intense. As the core business is stable, the helm of the enterprise needs to look more long-term, expand the territory and find new stories.
Zhang Yiming said in the open letter that although the company’s business is developing well, he hopes that the company will continue to have greater innovation and breakthroughs and become more creative and meaningful. The impact of virtual reality, life sciences, and scientific computing on human life has all dawned. These require us to break through the inertia of our business to explore.
At present, the dividends of mobile Internet are gradually disappearing, more high-tech is constantly developing, and new models are integrated. Opportunities and crises coexist. These companies and business leaders who have caught up with this wave of dividends and stood on the forefront of the times are facing new challenges. The test and choice: who can seize the next vent.
Once, the first-tier Internet entrepreneurs represented by BAT have grown into the dominant force leading the Chinese Internet world, and most of them still hold the power of the company with one hand. However, these post-80s entrepreneurs who shine in the mobile Internet era have chosen to retreat under the prestige. Can this “trend” bring new changes to the future of China’s Internet technology? (Xuemei)