Short-form video platform TikTok has tapped former YouTube executive Lee Hunter to lead its expansion into the Australian market, which will see it open a local office in Sydney.
The ByteDance-owned social media giant says it wants local boots on the ground to oversee brand partnerships, client solutions, business marketing and sales operations in the wake of its explosive user growth Down Under.
There are now more than 1.6 million Australians using the platform — which has its headquarters in China — according to recent Roy Morgan Research data, spurring confidence that the time is right for TikTok to invest in local user experience and potentially lucrative brand deals.
Leading the charge will be new Aussie general manager Lee Hunter, formerly the global head of brand at ByteDance’s chief rival, YouTube.
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”I’ve been truly inspired watching Australia’s unique and creative spirit shine through on TikTok, especially during this challenging time,” Hunter said in a statement.
Hunter will be assisted by TikTok’s general manager of global business solutions, Brett Armstrong, another former Google employee who will oversee the platform’s commercial deals in Australia.
”We’ve got some fantastic campaigns underway, with results exceeding expectations already, so I’m really looking forward to growing our business offering from strength to strength locally,” Armstong said in a statement.
Other appointments flagged on Tuesday include director of ANZ public policy Brent Thomas and Singapore-based Arjun Narayan Bettadapur Manjunath, who will be head of trust and safety.
The local office and executive appointments are a sign that TikTok, which recently eclipsed YouTube in annual revenue, is keen to double down on commercial deals in Australia.
That means the platform is likely to be looking to ink deals with local businesses, either for advertising or marketing campaigns targeting young consumers.