Image by Nitish Gupta from Pixabay
TNews - The digital realm witnessed a significant event as Nepal officially decided to ban TikTok, the Chinese social media platform, citing its reluctance to curb content promoting "social disharmony." Meanwhile, in Indonesia, news about the Chinese social media giant entering the e-commerce sector is gaining momentum. According to Boardroom on Monday, November 20, 2023, TikTok had to endure the loss of 2.2 million users in Nepal as the application faced a nationwide shutdown. The Nepalese government took this drastic step as they perceived TikTok's content to be promoting hatred towards religion, violence, and sexual harassment. This decision followed the implementation of regulations requiring social media platforms to register with the local government.
The ban in Nepal occurred as Byte Dance, TikTok's parent company, reported a second-quarter revenue of $29 billion, marking a staggering 40% year-on-year increase. Nepal is not the only country to ban TikTok; the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand have also prohibited government officials from using the app. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, after TikTok was prohibited from combining e-commerce with social media, the company is planning to establish its own e-commerce platform.
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In mid-October 2023, TikTok posted job openings for various positions to strengthen its e-commerce business. According to observations from Bisnis on October 16, 2023, more than 50 job vacancies related to TikTok's e-commerce operations were found on the global TikTok LinkedIn page. Interestingly, although the majority of positions were based in Indonesia, there were also job openings for TikTok's e-commerce operations in Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Additionally, internship opportunities were discovered, starting in 2023 and 2024. The latest news indicates that TikTok is planning to collaborate with local e-commerce for its foray into e-commerce.
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Responding to this development, Temmy Satya Permana, Deputy Assistant for Financing and Investment of SMEs, SME Deputy, Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, mentioned that TikTok Shop would be reopened in Indonesia. He stated that TikTok might not establish a new business entity or PT for TikTok Shop. Instead, TikTok Shop plans to collaborate with one of the local e-commerce partners. Regarding this, Temmy explained that cooperation between the two platforms or business-to-business (B2B) partnerships was not an issue as long as they followed the existing regulations.
He also emphasized that the collaboration between TikTok Shop and one of the e-commerce platforms would not undermine competition. "We cannot forbid [TikTok] from partnering with anyone; B2B cooperation is not a problem, as long as everything complies with the rules. It depends on how society evaluates which offers are better and which services are better," Temmy said during an interview at the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs building in Jakarta on Friday, November 17, 2023. He explained that the issue that led to the closure of TikTok Shop in October was due to the lack of a permit to trade. TikTok only had a Representative Office Permit for Foreign Trade Companies (KP3A) in Indonesia. With this permit, TikTok was only allowed to operate as a social media platform serving consumer complaints and market research.
He continued, stating that China had also issued regulations prohibiting monopolies on a platform following the dominance of the e-commerce giant Alibaba in the country. Temmy mentioned that Alibaba now only has around 30% of the e-commerce market share, down from the previous 70%. "Before TikTok, everything was fine [with e-commerce in Indonesia]. TikTok didn't have a permit yesterday, so it was closed. In its home country, regulations are in place, so why not in Indonesia?" said Temmy.
The TikTok saga, from being banned in Nepal to venturing boldly into e-commerce in Indonesia, illustrates that the social media platform does not shy away from obstacles and challenges. Despite facing bans in several countries, TikTok is not just finding ways to survive but is also expanding into new sectors, such as e-commerce. This move demonstrates TikTok's ability to adapt to regulatory changes and take risks to grow and evolve.
As TikTok users or industry observers, we will continue to witness how the platform responds to the dynamics of regulatory changes and the extent to which TikTok can achieve success in their e-commerce venture. Perhaps, TikTok's creativity is not limited to entertaining content but also extends to innovation in the evolving business world.