TikTok expands ecommerce efforts with ‘Project S’

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As ecommerce continues to be a driving force for TikTok, the platform is now looking to introduce “Project S” in hopes of competing with established giants such as Shein, Amazon, and Temu.

As part of the project, TikTok parent ByteDance will introduce a dedicated section called Trendy Beat within the short-video app, the Financial Times first reported. This section will showcase ByteDance’s own version of trending products.

While TikTok Shop operates as an online selling platform that allows sellers to showcase and sell their products, Project S is more akin to Amazon Basics, where the company directly sells its own wares.

With this project, TikTok will leverage its vast knowledge of viral products worldwide, enabling it to acquire or create these items for sale.

TikTok Shop has been a success for the company in Southeast Asia, challenging regional staples like Shopee and Lazada – at least in the social commerce space.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew also recently announced that the company will be investing billions in Southeast Asia, including around US$12.2 million over the next three years to move 120,000 regional businesses online.

Project S would make TikTok “a one-stop-shop for conversion, sales, and brand image,” according to a note from Website Builder Expert.

See also: TikTok Shop has set SEA on fire within months

However, the company last year slammed the brakes on expanding TikTok Shop to markets like Europe and the US, where Shein and Temu have thrived. “The market just isn’t there yet,” a TikTok employee said, according to the Financial Times.

Project S underwent a test run in the UK, but wasn’t piloted in the US, TikTok told TechCrunch. However, the trademark application the TikTok filed for Trendy Beat suggests the company’s future plans to expand in the US as well.


Lokesh Choudhary

Navigating the world of tech, one story at a time.

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