The news: TikTok owner ByteDance is reportedly looking to launch an international ecommerce platform, per job postings reviewed by Insider.
What we know: This venture will be separate from TikTok’s ecommerce partnerships with big names like Shopify and Walmart.
The platform will likely be focused on cross-border retail—primarily, shipping Chinese goods to other markets like the US.
What we don’t know: So far, it’s still unclear whether the platform will be standalone or integrated into the TikTok app. Either approach would have different implications:
If the platform was integrated into TikTok proper, it would be the culmination of ByteDance’s long-standing effort to establish itself as a leader in the US social commerce space.
On the other hand, launching a standalone platform may be necessary if ByteDance wants to transcend social commerce altogether and compete with the ecommerce giants of the world.
The bottom line: ByteDance’s decision on how it launches its international commerce strategy will reveal a lot about what it hopes to achieve, which companies it sees as its competition—and ultimately, how it understands the US social commerce market in relation to China’s.
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