TikTok To Venture Billions Of Dollars In SEA To Promote E-Commerce Business
As it doubles down on the region amid increasing international scrutiny over its data security, China's ByteDance, the owner of the short video app TikTok, announced that it would invest billions of dollars in Southeast Asia over the coming years.
Southeast Asia, which has a population of 630 million people, half of whom are under 30, is one of TikTok's largest user markets, bringing in more than 325 million monthly users.
The platform has struggled to convert its sizable user base into a significant source of regional e-commerce income, however, as it competes fiercely with larger rivals like Sea's (SE.N) Shopee, Alibaba's (9988.HK) Lazada, and GoTo's (GOTO.JK) Tokopedia.
"We're going to invest billions of dollars in Indonesia and Southeast Asia over the next few years," TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said at a forum it organised in Jakarta to highlight the social and economic impact of the app in the region.
Although TikTok did not disclose a full breakdown of the budget, it did state that it will spend money on advertising, encouraging aspiring small business owners, and providing training.
Chew claimed that as its user base grows and the platform moves beyond advertising into e-commerce, enabling customers to make purchases through links on the app while livestreaming, the site's content is growing more varied.
In Southeast Asia, TikTok has 8,000 employees and 2 million small sellers selling their goods on its platform, with Indonesia being the largest economy in the area.
According to figures from consultant Momentum Works, regional e-commerce transactions hit around $100 billion last year, with Indonesia contributing for $52 billion.