TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, is making inroads in e-commerce. Consumers in China last year spent 1.41 trillion yuan, or $208 billion, buying things on ByteDance’s Douyin video app, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok, an increase of 76% from 2021, according to two people with knowledge of the internal data. Meanwhile, shoppers on TikTok in Southeast Asia more than quadrupled their spending, a metric known as gross merchandise volume, to $4.4 billion, the people said.
The growth comes at a time when TikTok is facing what could be an existential crisis in the U.S., where some lawmakers are trying to ban the app due to national security concerns. ByteDance has internally discussed plans to step up e-commerce efforts this year in more countries, including the U.S., Brazil, Spain and Australia, according to the people. TikTok in November started an early U.S. trial of its e-commerce feature, TikTok Shop, which allows users to make online purchases from merchants without leaving the app.