China’s ByteDance, which owns the short video app TikTok, said that it would spend billions of dollars in Southeast Asia over the next few years. This is part of the company’s plan to focus more on the region as data security concerns grow around the world.
Southeast Asia, which has a population of 630 million people, half of whom are under 30, is one of TikTok’s biggest user domains.
The platform has a lot of users, but it hasn’t been able to turn them into a big source of e-commerce income in the region yet. This is because it is up against bigger competitors like Sea’s Shopee, Alibaba’s Lazada, and GoTo’s Tokopedia, all of which are very tough to beat.
“We’re going to invest billions of dollars in Indonesia and Southeast Asia over the next few years,” said TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew at a meeting held in Jakarta to show the social and economic effect of the app in the region.
He said that the platform’s material is becoming more varied as it gets more users and moves beyond ads into e-commerce, letting people buy things through links on the app while they are livestreaming.
Chew said that TikTok has 8,000 workers in Southeast Asia and that 2 million small sellers sell their goods on its website in Indonesia, which has the biggest economy in the region.
Some governments and officials are looking closely at the Chinese-owned company because they are worried that Beijing could use the app to get information from users or further its own goals. This is why the company plans to invest.
Countries like Britain and New Zealand have banned the app from being used on government phones. TikTok said it thought this was because of “fundamental misconceptions” and larger geopolitical issues.
TikTok has denied many times that it has ever given data to the Chinese government and said that if asked, it would not do so.
The app hasn’t been banned by the government in Southeast Asia, but its material has been looked at closely.
Indonesia had one of its first big international policy problems in 2018. For a short time, the government banned the app TikTok because of posts with “pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy.”
In Vietnam, government officials said they would look into how TikTok works there because “toxic” material on the site threatens “youth, culture, and tradition.”