Jessica Goodfellow
Jun 18, 2020

TikTok marketing director moves to US to lead new agency unit

Lionel Sim has relocated from Beijing to New York to take up a new role at the short-video platform as head of global agency.

Campaign interviewed Lionel Sim at VidCon in December.
Campaign interviewed Lionel Sim at VidCon in December.

TikTok's senior director of global marketing Lionel Sim has moved to New York to lead a new global agency team for the popular short-form platform. 

The new unit will work with major global agencies to deliver "innovative technology solutions" and serve to "advocate and educate the market" to help accelerate the growth of TikTok's business solutions, according to a job posting for the division.

Sim is hiring several senior positions to staff the group, including a global agency development leader and global agency program management partner, both to be based in New York, and a head of agency for APAC, to be based in Singapore.

A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement: "Global agencies are an important part of TikTok’s ecosystem and we’re excited to build strategic partnerships with them. As Head of Global Agency Development, Lionel will sharpen our focus on growing these relationships and strengthen our commitment to helping agencies and brands see success when engaging with the TikTok community."

Sim joined the Bytedance-owned platform in April last year at an important stage in its growth as it was in the midst of ballooning internationally, especially in markets such as India and the US. The app was downloaded more than 738 million times in 2019—up from 655 million the previous year—and grossed more than five times its 2018 revenue at nearly $177 million, according to Sensor Tower data. India accounted for 44% of downloads in 2019, followed by China (7%) and the US (6%), according to the data.

During this time, Sim, who was based in Beijing, was responsible for managing global strategic partnerships for monetisation of the platform, as well as managing market development and expansion for TikTok Australia, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Sim had formerly managed global marketing and partnerships at Tencent's WeChat, China's most popular messaging app—experience that will have been important in guiding newer TikTok's growth strategy.

His relocation to the US follows a record-breaking quarter for TikTok, as countries around the world went into lockdown and turned to 15-second videos for entertainment. The app accumulated more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play in the first quarter of 2020, representing the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, according to Sensor Tower. It brings the total accumulated number of downloads to more than 2 billion globally.

Campaign interviewed Sim in December, when he divulged common mistakes brands make on the platform, why brands should embrace activist-driven content, and how publishers can leverage the tool.

This story was updated on Friday (June 19) to include TikTok's official statement.

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