TikTok has taken on Facebook and YouTube. Now it hopes to compete with Amazon as well.
In China, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, in recent years has turned its video app, Douyin, into a shopping powerhouse that has eroded the e-commerce dominance of Alibaba, China’s equivalent to Amazon. ByteDance this year aims to double the amount of shopping that happens on Douyin in China to nearly $240 billion, according to people with knowledge of the Chinese company’s internal target.
Now ByteDance is eyeing a global e-commerce expansion. Last year, TikTok launched an e-commerce feature, TikTok Shop, in the U.K. and Indonesia, which allows users to complete purchases within the app, and last month it introduced the feature in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines. If TikTok’s 1 billion active monthly users embrace the shopping feature, that would make ByteDance a formidable challenger to Amazon. But pulling that off may be trickier than it’s proved in China.