TikTok to Invest Billions of Dollars in Southeast Asia, Says CEO

TikTok's e-commerce platform lets consumers purchase goods through links on the app during livestreaming.

TikTok to Invest Billions of Dollars in Southeast Asia, Says CEO

Photo Credit: Reuters

Southeast Asia is one of TikTok's biggest markets in terms of user numbers

Highlights
  • Chew said TikTok has 8,000 employees in Southeast Asia
  • TikTok faces competition from Shopee, Lazada and Tokopedia in region
  • TikTok has 2 million small vendors in Southeast Asia
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Short video app TikTok plans to invest billions of dollars in Southeast Asia over the next few years, its CEO Shou Zi Chew said on Thursday.

Chew said at an event held in Indonesia that TikTok's content is becoming more diversified as it adds more users and expands into e-commerce. TikTok is owned by China's ByteDance.

Southeast Asia is one of TikTok's biggest markets in terms of user numbers. But the platform has yet to translate the large user base into a major e-commerce revenue source as it faces fierce competition from bigger rivals of Sea's Shopee, Alibaba's Lazada and GoTo's Tokopedia.

TikTok's e-commerce platform lets consumers purchase goods through links on the app during livestreaming.

Chew said TikTok has 8,000 employees in Southeast Asia, and 2 million small vendors who are selling their wares on its platform, without elaborating further.

Meanwhile, TikTok is facing calls from US lawmakers and state officials to ban the app nationwide over concerns about potential Chinese government influence over the platform. Recently, a bipartisan group of six senators and two members of the House of Representatives introduced legislation to protect Americans' data from being used by US adversaries. The bill aims to address concerns about the data of Americans using foreign-owned social media apps like TikTok. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, a Democrat, said the bill "would turn off the tap of data to unfriendly nations, stop TikTok from sending Americans' personal information to China, and allow nations with strong privacy protections to strengthen their relationships."

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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