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TikTok has started testing in-app shopping

The app hopes to replicate Douyin’s success from China, which amassed $ 26 billion in e-commerce transactions in its first year.

ByteDance’s TikTok has partnered with brands, such as Hype urban clothing, to test in-app sales in Europe. An initiative that will strengthen your competition with Facebook and further blur the line between social media and online shopping.

The popular video app hopes to replicate the success of China’s Douyin abroad, who amassed $ 26 billion in e-commerce transactions in its first year of existence alone.

TikTok has started working with traders in markets such as the UK on ways to sell products directly to millions of users within the app, say people familiar with the problem.

TikTok has started testing in-app shopping

While TikTok has run promotional shopping campaigns in the past, the current tests are a precursor to a wider launch of a global ecommerce service.

The prototype is only visible to selected participants so far and it is not yet known when the company will begin the formal launch. A representative from Hype confirmed the test without further comment. The brand’s showcase in your TikTok account shows a number of products with images and prices, based on a screenshot provided to Bloomberg News.

ByteDance is making strong strides towards a $ 1.7 trillion Chinese e-commerce market, hoping to add one more mega growth story ahead of a highly anticipated IPO. It aims to process more than $ 185 billion in ecommerce annually by 2022, leveraging the reach of TikTok and Douyin.

Unlike Chinese rivals Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. or Tencent Holdings Ltd., ByteDance applications enjoy a wide fan base worldwide and their co-founder Zhang Yiming wants to use that as a springboard in the online trading game.

“TikTok has tested and learned with ecommerce offerings and partnerships, and we are constantly looking for new ways to add value. We will provide updates as we explore these important pathways for our community of users, creators and brands” , the company said. in a statement sent by email.

TikTok had already started testing the waters of online shopping through promotional deals with WalMart Inc. and the Canadian e-commerce company Shopify Inc.

Companies generally label their products in TikTok’s social content, with links directing buyers to their own sites, but users technically remain in the TikTok app. Facebook and Instagram allow merchants to set up their storefronts in the app or direct users to third-party services.

TikTok now strives to keep users within its ecosystem. Brands such as Hype will operate dedicated stores on the video platform, receive orders and interact directly with buyers. While the Chinese company won’t handle sales or merchandise on its own, it expects to sell more ads to sellers, attract more traffic, and bring in some of the transactions.