Chinese media outlet ebrun reported on Friday that sources close to TikTok revealed that the company’s e-commerce unit is about to make a big push into Southeast Asia. At present, TikTok Shop has entered into Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
In February, 2021, TikTok Shop performed A/B testing in Indonesia. At present, in Southeast Asia, only companies registered in Indonesia are allowed to set up shop in the country while purchases are restricted to Indonesian users only.
In April, 2021, TikTok Shop landed in the UK, giving priority to companies registered in the UK, but it has gradually opened to cross-border merchants since June.
One service provider pointed out the issue with the new platform, “Users in other countries in Europe and America can also see the products on TikTok Shop’s British version, so many merchants located in the UK will add ‘-UK’ at the end of their account name to attract more British users. The TikTok Shop’s Indonesian version is only available to Indonesian users.”
The spokesperson of a multi-channel network institution of TikTok said: “The TikTok Shops in the Southeast Asian market are all open to local merchants. A cross-border store like that in the British market still needs some time. The Southeast Asian market is too complicated.”
In addition, TikTok is currently recruiting local e-commerce talents and business operators in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.
A senior e-commerce insider pointed out: “In the past few years, the focus of competition in the e-commerce market in Southeast Asia has been on Shopee and Lazada. Nowadays, the entry of ByteDance may bring about tremendous changes.” Lazada focuses on highlighting brands, while Shopee started its business from the small-town and rural markets, which is suitable for small and medium-sized sellers. The advantage of TikTok lies in traffic as the platform has 240 million monthly active users in Southeast Asia.