Half Of Tiktok's UK E-commerce Team Quit After Complaining About Byte Culture Being Too Voluminous

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According to the financial times, the cultural conflict between tiktok's Chinese boss and London employees caused a wave of resignation in a short time. Some former employees complained to the media that the company's radical corporate spirit ran counter to the typical loose office practices in the UK. The conflict mainly centered on tiktok shop, an e-commerce business launched on the UK site last October, which is the first market of tiktok shop outside Asia.

This service is similar to the popular live broadcast with goods in China. Brand merchants and online celebrities broadcast live on tiktok. Users can click the shopping basket icon on the screen to purchase products.

It was reported that the fuse of the incident came from the controversial remarks of a bytecan executive. Joshua Ma, the head of tiktok's e-commerce business in Europe, said in an internal speech: "as a 'capitalist', I don't think any company must provide maternity leave.".

After the matter was exposed, tiktok said that it had a clear maternity leave policy in the UK, including 30 weeks of paid leave. According to an email sent by tiktok to employees obtained by the financial times, Joshua Ma will "take a break" and "retire" from the UK e-commerce team he leads.

Patrick nommensen was announced as the temporary successor of Joshua ma. Nommensen led the launch of tiktok shop in the UK. LinkedIn shows that since the launch of Tiktok in 2016, nommensen has been playing for bytes and music Ly work.


Chinese boss vs London employee

A survey on the work situation of Britons during the epidemic showed that since they stayed at home, the working hours of British workers' daily screen increased by 2 hours, from 7 hours before the epidemic to 9 hours.

Ideally, the working hours of domestic workers are 9 to 5 in theory, but in fact, the Internet giant represented by the parent company of tiktok, byte beat, usually works at a pace of 996, and has always been known for its corporate culture of high work intensity and excessive overtime.

In the report, some former tiktok employees of base UK said that in order to participate in the meeting in Beijing, they often had to start a week's work on Sunday afternoon, and they had to respond to the conference call from China very early every day. Because the live broadcast was better at night, they had to submit a "feedback report" immediately after the live broadcast, and they had to finish their work very late, The daily working hours often exceed 12 hours.

More conditions have emerged. At least 20 members of the London E-commerce Team (about half of the total number of employees) have left the tiktok shop, and some other employees have expressed their intention to leave.

Former employees claim that tiktok shop's culture is "toxic" - the company's workplace relationships are based on fear rather than cooperation. "They don't care about the job burnout of employees. This is a large company that relies on the tiktok brand. Employees can be easily replaced."

In addition, some employees said that those who failed to complete their work objectives or failed to reply in time during non working hours would be criticized by internal circulars, and the wolf corporate culture would make them collapse.

On Wednesday, a tiktok staff member shared a document internally, suggesting that the keywords related to FT survey should be deleted from the comments of tiktok shop live broadcast. The list includes the following words: "Financial Times", "article", "culture", "toxic", "Joshua Ma", "capitalist" and "maternity".

Regarding this document, tiktok said, "although we welcome and encourage independent ideas from team members, not all ideas will be implemented".


Tiktok shop in the UK:

Deficit drainage

In addition to the conflict of work culture, the operation strategy of tiktok shop is the second biggest problem complained by British employees.

Tiktok shop's operation strategy largely replicates the way Tiktok e-commerce plays in China, which has achieved great success in the past year. According to analysts' estimates, the Gmv of Tiktok e-commerce will reach 800-900billion yuan in 2021. According to weiwenwen, President of Tiktok e-commerce, in the year from May 1, 2021 to April 30, 2022, the Gmv of Tiktok e-commerce was 3.2 times that of the same period of the previous year, and more than 10billion goods were sold.

However, according to the financial times, as the first stop of the e-commerce model, tiktok shop seems to be unattractive in the UK, and is in a state of loss operation. The sales of many live programs are zero.

Employees complain that their goals are unrealistic, and they need to get a total sales of 400000 pounds from the live broadcast every month, but the live broadcast sales of an ordinary seller may not reach 5000 pounds. Theoretically, tiktok will charge a 5% Commission for the brand, but it will usually be exempted in order to attract new brands to join the platform.

In addition, the operation strategy of tiktok shop in the UK is to purchase goods from low-cost manufacturers in the UK and China, and then sell them at low prices. With the low cost, fake and shoddy also appeared.

On tiktok shop, the popular product is a "Dyson Pinti" of 14 pounds, which is similar to Dyson's airwrap with a suggested retail price of 450 pounds. Dyson wrote to tiktok after finding it, hoping that the platform can crack down on fake and shoddy products. Tiktok said that it has a fake monitoring team and strict product guidelines.

"Dyson Pinti" products popular on tiktok

In addition to the high sales target and the problem of fake goods, employees complain about the low price strategy adopted by tiktok shop.

Tiktok hired people with experience in e-commerce and luxury brands (including Harrods, ASOs and Amazon) to provide them with signing bonuses and stock options. These employees use their relationships to attract big brands to join the platform. At present, brands including lookfantastic, L'Oreal and Charlotte Tilbury have been launched in tiktok shop. Brands are encouraged to offer flash discounts and big discounts, and tiktok will provide some subsidies.

The employee said that the European brands they connected with felt uncomfortable about the discount range of their products on tiktok shop. "Britain is a different market and ecosystem, but the person in charge refused to listen and refused to make changes."

Employees use their contacts to attract big brands to join the platform, but some people say that their long-term professional relationship with these companies has been damaged because they have to actively negotiate discounts, and sometimes even terminate the contract without explanation. "I lost my credibility in the business," said one current employee.

As for the questions raised by the media, former employees and platform merchants, tiktok said that with the help of the community, anchors and merchants, it is "constantly learning, iterating and improving its services".

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