ByteDance Ltd.’s social media company, TikTok, is embarking on an audacious mission to establish itself as a dominant player in the e-commerce industry with the lofty goal of quadrupling its global sales.
TikTok aims to achieve a staggering $20 billion in merchandise sales this year, according to people familiar with the matter.
“That would be a speedy increase from last year’s $4.4 billion in gross merchandise value, which represents the total worth of goods sold through its TikTok Shop offering,” said the anonymous sources.
TikTok is betting on rapid growth in Southeast Asia, particularly in markets like Indonesia, where influencers showcase products through live-streamed videos, ranging from denim jeans to lipstick.
TikTok is also working to expand its sales in the United States and Europe, albeit on a smaller scale compared to its overall target. The company aims to grab a bigger share of the $17 trillion online commerce market as its main revenue driver, especially after its advertising business slows down due to the ongoing economic downturn.
Despite threats of a potential ban by American politicians over national security concerns, TikTok sees potential in forming profitable ties with US merchants and brands.
“The Chinese-owned company is intent on exporting its commerce model to the US and its 150 million users there,” the sources added. TikTok has proposed measures to address national security concerns, such as data isolation for American users and technology reviews by partners like Oracle Corp.
However, challenges persist, with the state of Montana imposing a prohibition on the app’s download starting in 2024, and lawmakers proposing similar bills for a nationwide ban.
When approached for comment on the company’s financials, a TikTok spokesperson declined to provide any statements.
ByteDance, founded over a decade ago by Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo, has become a prominent internet leader valued at over $200 billion. Its success can be attributed to the virality of TikTok and Douyin, its Chinese counterpart. While live shopping has yet to gain significant traction in the US and Europe, TikTok draws inspiration from Douyin’s success in China.
TikTok Shop allows users to buy items while scrolling through an endless feed of short videos and livestreams. By blending entertainment with impulse buying, TikTok aims to position itself as a viable alternative to giants like Amazon.com Inc. and Sea Ltd.’s Shopee.
Douyin’s success in capturing a significant portion of Chinese consumer spending from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and JD.com Inc. serves as a testament to the potential of TikTok’s commerce model.
“The rapid growth of TikTok Shop poses a direct threat to Southeast Asia’s incumbent e-commerce leaders,” said Simon Torring, co-founder of e-commerce research firm Cube Asia. “It is, however, still too early to declare TikTok Shop’s victory. It has not yet demonstrated the ability to gain significant growth momentum outside the beauty and fashion categories, and a lot of the current growth is heavily subsidized by TikTok through vouchers and aggressive marketing spending.”
Behind Closed Doors: Microsoft’s Bid to Make Bing Apple’s Default Search Engine
Insiders have disclosed that Microsoft Corp. engaged in discussions with Apple Inc. around 2020 about potentially selling its Bing search engine.
The proposed deal aimed to replace Google as the default search engine on Apple devices, particularly iPhones.
People familiar with the matter, who chose to remain anonymous, disclosed that high-level executives from Microsoft held exploratory talks with Eddy Cue, Apple’s services chief, responsible for the existing search engine partnership with Google.
Despite these discussions, the deal never progressed beyond preliminary stages. This revelation has gained renewed attention in light of the ongoing U.S. Department of Justice antitrust trial against Google, in which Apple and Microsoft are actively involved. The Justice Department is using Apple’s arrangement with Google as evidence of Google’s search market dominance.
Apple’s Eddy Cue defended the collaboration during his trial testimony, asserting that Google was the superior search option, emphasizing the quality of Google’s technology.
Apple’s partnership with Google, initiated in 2002, had grown to become highly lucrative, earning Apple between $4 billion to $7 billion annually by 2020.
This financial aspect, coupled with concerns about Bing’s competitiveness, played pivotal roles in Apple’s ultimate decision not to acquire Bing.
While Bing was briefly used as the default search engine in some Apple features between 2013 and 2017, including Siri and Spotlight, Google ultimately remained the preferred choice. In court, it was revealed that Microsoft had considered a multi-billion-dollar investment in its relationship with Apple in 2016, but this attempt was unsuccessful.
Eddy Cue’s testimony underscored Apple’s belief that Google’s search technology was unmatched, signaling that Apple had no plans to develop its own search tool.
This differs from Apple’s approach in other areas, where it competes directly with Google in mapping software, voice assistants, and operating systems.
In retrospect, Apple’s dalliance with Bing serves as a fascinating chapter in the tech giants’ intricate web of partnerships and rivalries.
TikTok Faces Regulatory Storm in Indonesia as Minister Calls for E-commerce Split
Teten Masduki, the Indonesian Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, has emerged as a vocal critic of the Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok.
Masduki’s relentless complaints about TikTok’s dominance in the Indonesian e-commerce market have set the stage for a seismic regulatory shift that could have far-reaching consequences.
Masduki, a former activist who once took on government corruption, has been disrupting official meetings to raise concerns about TikTok’s impact on local players. This groundswell of criticism has culminated in sweeping regulations that force TikTok to split payments from shopping in Indonesia, a move seen as a significant blow to TikTok’s e-commerce aspirations.
Under these new rules, social media companies in Indonesia are barred from handling direct payments for online purchases, effectively requiring TikTok to either create a separate app for payments or risk being shuttered in Indonesia entirely.
The regulations, stricter than anticipated, have already had a chilling effect on the e-commerce market, benefiting local champions like GoTo and Sea.
While TikTok has pushed back, arguing that the separation of social media and e-commerce hampers innovation, the Indonesian government remains firm in its stance, aiming to protect smaller enterprises and voters as elections loom on the horizon.
This clash underscores the challenges TikTok faces in its pursuit of e-commerce dominance and sets a precedent for other countries in the region. As TikTok’s meteoric rise in regional e-commerce continues, governments are increasingly assessing whether the platform benefits or harms domestic merchants.
For TikTok, the challenge lies in finding a solution that appeases authorities while allowing it to continue its growth. The repercussions of this battle in Indonesia could reverberate throughout Southeast Asia and beyond, shaping the future of social media-driven e-commerce.
In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Teten Masduki’s bold stance against TikTok may just be the opening salvo in a much larger struggle for control of the e-commerce arena.
Meta Announces Upcoming Business Verification and Innovative Features for WhatsApp
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, on Tuesday announced plans to commence verification of businesses on WhatsApp.
Nikila Srinivasan, Meta’s Vice President of Business Messaging, shared the exciting news.
Meta’s aim is to bolster user trust through platform-granted verifications, signify the legitimacy of businesses and assure users of their authenticity.
To attain this coveted Meta verification, businesses must substantiate their credibility to Meta, reaping rewards such as a verified badge, enhanced account support, and safeguarding against impersonation.
Srinivasan further elaborated on the forthcoming features, stating, “For businesses interested in signing up, Meta Verified will offer additional premium features. These include the ability to create a customized WhatsApp page that can be easily discovered through web searches, as well as multi-device support, enabling multiple employees to efficiently respond to customer inquiries. We plan to initiate testing of Meta Verified with small businesses using the WhatsApp Business app before extending it to businesses on the WhatsApp Business Platform in the near future.”
In addition to the verification system, Meta also unveiled another exciting feature called “Flows.” This innovation will empower businesses to provide a comprehensive range of services without requiring users to leave the chat.
Srinivasan explained, “With Flows, businesses will have the capability to offer rich menus and customizable forms to cater to diverse user needs. We aim to make Flows available to businesses worldwide through the WhatsApp Business Platform in the coming weeks.”
This strategic move by Meta not only bolsters the credibility of businesses on WhatsApp but also introduces user-friendly features that are expected to enhance the overall user experience.
As Meta continues to invest in evolving its platforms, business owners and users alike can look forward to an increasingly innovative and secure WhatsApp environment.
News4 weeks ago
Npower Program Restores Hope with Long-Awaited Stipend Disbursement
Commodities4 weeks ago
Three Chinese Groups Vying to Acquire $2 Billion Botswana Copper Mine
News3 weeks ago
Government Plans to Revamp Npower Scheme and Combat Poverty
Banking Sector4 weeks ago
Guaranty Trust Holding Co. Surpasses Expectations with $468 Million Forex Windfall
Forex3 weeks ago
Black Market Dollar to Naira Today, September 7th, 2023
Government4 weeks ago
French Influence Wanes in Africa: Is Macron’s Africa Policy Doomed?
Black Market Rate4 weeks ago
Dollar to Naira Black Market Today, 2nd September 2023
Cryptocurrency4 weeks ago
Ripple Labs Objects to SEC’s Request for Appeal in Landmark Cryptocurrency Case