It is now confirmed that TikTok is expanding its m-commerce offerings, with its Chinese parent company selling products through the viral video app as the group seeks to challenge rivals such as Shein and Amazon.
In recent weeks, UK users have begun to see a new shopping feature within the TikTok app called “Trendy Beat”, a section offering items that have proven popular on videos.
All the items advertised are shipped from China, sold by a company registered in Singapore that is owned by ByteDance, the parent company.
The model, similar to how Amazon makes and promotes its own range of bestselling items, represents a vast shift from TikTok’s existing shopping marketplace.
It currently allows other vendors to sell items through TikTok Shop, which then takes a small commission. By contrast, ByteDance would take all proceeds from sales made through the Trendy Beat feature on TikTok.
TikTok said it was currently testing the feature. “We are always exploring new ways to enhance our community’s experience, and we are in the early stages of experimenting with new shopping features,” the company said.
ByteDance is seeking new revenues that can justify its $300 billion valuation, which makes it the world’s most highly valued private start-up, ahead of an expected initial public offering in the next two years.
The effort to begin selling its own products is known internally as “Project S”, built to challenge groups such as fast-fashion brand Shein and Pinduoduo’s sister app Temu, a site that sells cheap products and features heavily on social media.
Project S utilises TikTok’s knowledge of items that are going viral on the app, allowing ByteDance to acquire or make those items itself. The company then heavily promoted Trendy Beat products over rival sellers on TikTok.
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