By: Will Kessler, Daily Caller News Foundation
The popular social media site TikTok, which has links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is launching a new e-commerce business in August to sell Chinese goods to the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal.
The social media giant is seeking to compete with Chinese commerce companies Shein and Temu by creating a shopping platform for TikTok, selling Chinese goods to Americans, after struggling to integrate third-party sellers into the app, according to the WSJ. TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, have been under fire for several years for their association with the CCP, with a former high-ranking employee of ByteDance alleging that members of the CCP had special credentials that could access data collected from Americans by Titkok, including SIM Card identification and IP addresses.
The TikTok Shop Shopping Center will take the form of an Amazon-like marketplace where users can view and buy goods from both TikTok directly and external retailers, according to the WSJ. The shopping center is aimed at diversifying beyond advertising sales for the platform.
The company seeks to increase the amount of goods sold on the platform to $20 billion from $5 billion last year, according to the WSJ.
The expansion follows another expansion by TikTok into the book publishing industry, with the company filing for a U.S. trademark in April under the name 8th Note Press in order to capitalize on the number of creators that have used TikTok to gain a huge following for their books, launching them to become bestsellers. The combined sales of 100 authors with large TikTok-based followings reached $760 million in 2022.
In June, TikTok acknowledged that data for American creators is stored in China, but denied claims that the company stores “protected user data” outside of the U.S.
An investigation showed that ByteDance monitors and sometimes suppresses content critical of China, including content related to the ethnic minority group the Uyghurs, the Chinese government and trade between the U.S. and China.
TikTok did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.