• Chew is set to testify before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee
  • He previously worked at Facebook as an intern when the company was a startup
  • Chew has an estimated net worth of $200 million

As global suspicion of TikTok rises, the Chinese app is on trial with U.S. authorities considering banning it. TikTok's 40-year-old chief executive Shou Zi Chew will testify before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday to address the lawmakers' concerns over the app's data security and privacy practices and its alleged ties with Beijing.

TikTok chief operating officer Vanessa Pappas has been the official face of the video-sharing app during the past few turbulent years, testifying before Congress last September about the data flows of American users to China.

It appears Chew, who took over as TikTok CEO in April 2021, has stayed away from the spotlight to a great extent, and his ability to make decisions in the company is significantly limited. Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese parent company, on the other hand, holds the reins at the tech giant, as per CNN.

Since a ban threat in 2020, TikTok has been facing scrutiny from state and federal lawmakers over its alleged ties to China through its parent company. At the same time, lawmakers have questioned the app's "negative" influence on younger users.

As the Biden administration negotiates a deal with TikTok to let the app continue its operations in the U.S., the company has finally decided to put its CEO in the public spotlight.

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Born and raised in the city-state of Singapore, Chew served as an officer in the armed forces. He obtained a bachelor's degree in economics from University College London after which he went to Harvard Business School for his MBA in 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal.

He interned at Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media giant Facebook at the time when it was still a start-up. Years later, Chew joined Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi as its chief financial officer and international business president and steered the company through its public listing in 2018.

In March 2021, he moved to ByteDance to become the first person to join the company as a chief financial officer. Hardly a month later, he joined TikTok as the CEO after his predecessor Kevin Mayer's abrupt resignation.

His net worth isn't explicitly known, but it is estimated to be $200 million, The NY Banner reported.

TikTok sent a letter to U.S. lawmakers last June in which the tech giant described Chew as a "Singaporean based in Singapore" in a bid to distance itself from ByteDance.

Facing one of the biggest challenges of his career as the TikTok boss, Chew has been attempting to connect with the app's users in the U.S. for support. He posted a video on his official TikTok account Monday, asking users to tell him what they want to say to lawmakers in Washington.

"This comes at a pivotal moment for us. This could take TikTok away from all 150 million of you," he said in the clip which has received over half a million likes since posted.

Illustration shows TikTok app logo