As the world tilts ever more toward the financial black hole that is the holiday shopping season, Semafor was the first to disclose that a few U.S. firms are being requested to take part in TikTok’s new purchasing experience.
The United States is now included as a location for businesses to register on the official TikTok Shop Seller Center website. These companies will soon be able to sell their products directly through the TikTok app, indicating that the app and its Chinese-based owners ByteDance intend to avoid competing e-commerce behemoths like Amazon while retaining consumers on the platform.
Semafor was also informed by an unnamed source with knowledge of the situation that TikTok began testing the TikTok Shop this week in the United States and that international vendors will soon list their products on TikTok Shop as well. The service is already accessible in the UK and a few Southeast Asian nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia.
A TikTok spokesperson told Gizmodo: “We are always guided by demand and exploring new ways to enhance the TikTok experience. We’ve seen the positive impact of TikTok Shop, and we’re excited to continue experimenting with this new commerce opportunity to support businesses of all sizes and enable our community to discover and engage with products they love.”
This endeavor appears to be a part of “Project Aquaman,” a campaign to transform the app into a sort of bazaar for online retail where influencers operate their own shopping stall through their creator account, despite the name sounding awfully fishy. China is a key hub for a particular livestream shopping experience where well-known creators promote goods and provide discounts to their hordes of fans. It has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry there, and if TikTok is successful in popularizing it in the United States, it could be very profitable.