TikTok opens Australian office

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 16 June 2020

TikTok has opened its first Australian office, headed up by former Google executive Lee Hunter.

Hunter joins the video-sharing app as general manager for TikTok Australia. He has previously worked at Google for more than a decade, including as its global head of brand for YouTube, and spent time as CEO of an ASX-listed technology company.

Joining Hunter is Brett Armstrong, also a former Google executive, who steps into the role as general manager for global business solutions.

Hunter will lead the Sydney-based company with a focus on overseeing the implementation of safety policies and resources, as well as driving growth, partnerships and the local product experience. Armstrong will oversee the commercial business and focuses on brand partnerships, client solutions, business marketing and sales operations.

“We are delighted by the positive response to TikTok in Australia and have been inspired by the remarkable creativity across Australia,” says Vanessa Pappas, GM of TikTok US.

“As we continue to build a positive and safe environment for users, our focus is on hiring the right local talent and strengthening our local leadership team to best support the Australian TikTok community. I am confident in the management team we've assembled to drive TikTok's growth and opportunity in Australia for creators and brands, and look forward to furthering the incredible creativity of our Australian community."

Other executives on the Australia team include Brent Thomas as director of public policy for Australia and Arjun Narayan Bettadapur Manjunath as head of trust and safety, leading TikTok’s dedicated APAC team based in Singapore.

"I’ve been truly inspired watching Australia’s unique and creative spirit shine through on TikTok, especially during this challenging time,” Hunter says.

“I love that TikTok has helped bring Australian communities together when we’ve needed it most, whether it’s having fun at home, sharing how we’re feeling, or expressing ideas and messages that need to be heard. I’m excited to build on this outpouring of positive, diverse and creative content, lead our growing local team, and support our brilliant community of Australian users, creators and partners.”

TikTok has been expanding its footprint around the globe for the past 18 months, hiring a general manager in the US, UK, India, Japan and Canada. The app has been growing in popularity among Australians, with brands also joining the app to launch campaigns. 

Armstrong, previously at Google where he led as country manager for New Zealand and head of media agencies AUNZ, will work with the growing number of brands on the platform.

“TikTok is all about spreading joy and positivity through fun shared experiences, and I’m incredibly excited to continue to share this ethos with Australian brands and partners,” Armstrong says.

“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.”

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