TikTok brings its ecommerce ambitions to Southeast Asia

The news: TikTok Shop is now available in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam as part of the social media platform’s plan to further its ecommerce ambitions in Southeast Asia, per ebrun.

  • Merchants in Indonesia have had access to TikTok Shop since last year but have thus far been limited to only serving Indonesian users.
  • The dedicated app allows merchants to manage storefronts from their phones, as well as run and analyze marketing campaigns.

The significance: TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has successfully established itself as a social commerce leader in China and is now looking for ways to bring that expertise to other markets.

  • Establishing a foothold in Southeast Asia would help make up for TikTok’s inability to reach users in India.
  • “Commerce is the cornerstone of TikTok’s monetization efforts. This year, marketers can expect TikTok to continue to expand its suite of commerce solutions, including in the US,” said Jasmine Enberg, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence. “TikTok is already a major product and brand discovery mechanism for its users—the next step will be encouraging those users to complete their purchases within the app.”

Looking ahead: Southeast Asia will have the fastest ecommerce growth in the world this year: We expect sales to grow by 20.6%, per our forecast.

  • ByteDance is by no means alone in looking to Southeast Asia to spur growth: Both Alibaba and Tencent have invested in ecommerce companies in the region.
  • However, the social media giant can rely on TikTok’s established user base in the region to drive adoption and sales.