TikTok Aborts Europe, US Expansion Ambitions Shortly After US Senate Inquiry

TikTok dumped plans to expand its live e-commerce initiative in Europe and the U.S. following internal problems and failure to gain traction with consumers, the Financial Times reports.

ByteDance Ltd launched the "TikTok Shop" in the U.K. in 2021, its first market outside Asia. Brands and influencers broadcast live and sell products through a clickable orange basket on the screen of the viral short-video app.

Livestream commerce, seen as the future of shopping by social media platforms, proved attractive for ByteDance, which has seen sales on Chinese sister app Douyin more than tripling year on year, selling more than 10 billion products, FT noted.

Also Read: More Trouble Brews For Alibaba, TikTok And Others As China Intensify Livestream Crackdown

TikTok aimed to launch the feature in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain in the first half of 2022 before expanding into the U.S. later in 2022. 

However, it ditched the expansion plans after the U.K. project failed to meet targets and influencers dropped out of the scheme. Many TikTok Shop live streams have suffered poor sales despite subsidies and cash incentives encouraging brands and influencers to sell through the app.

TikTok saw a mass staff exodus from the e-commerce team in London for alleged aggressive working culture. TikTok Shop Europe replaced Joshua Ma for not allowing maternity leaves.

TikTok acknowledged plans focused solely on making the proposition successful in the U.K. The product was recently launched in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam and has been available in Indonesia since 2021.

Simultaneously, the Federal Communications Commission urged Apple, Inc (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Alphabet, Inc GOOGL GOOG to take down the TikTok app from their respective app stores citing national security risks.

Recently TikTok confirmed that China-based employees could access U.S. user data under certain circumstances in response to U.S. Republican senators' inquiries.

Photo by olivier-bergeron via Unsplash

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