Potential TikTok ban threatens US business of China’s cross-border sellers

by Admin
Potential TikTok ban threatens US business of China's cross-border sellers

American shoppers already appear to be losing interest in TikTok.

Last month, the total value of goods sold on TikTok in the US amounted to just under US$419 million, which was lower than US$446 million in March, although still higher than February and the previous three months, according to EchoTik, an analytics and data provider focusing on TikTok.

ByteDance is diversifying its product range in the US and other Western markets. Its AI homework assistant Gauth, for example, is gaining momentum. It is also paying influencers to promote its photo-and-video-sharing app Lemon8, which was launched in 2020.

Two weeks ago, ByteDance did a soft launch of TikTok Notes, a photo-posting app that directly competes against Instagram, in Canada and Australia.

Despite the cloudy outlook, the US is still one of the most important markets for cross-border merchants, as it remains a cultural trendsetter, and consumers there are more well-off, according to Wang Haizhou, founder of EchoTik.

“Once a brand becomes popular in the US, other markets will follow,” he said.

If TikTok does eventually quit the US, Hong from the TikTok Seller Alliance said he would use other platforms, even though his existing store powered by Shopify “can’t compare to the TikTok one in sales”.

Uebezz’s Luo said her next move would depend on the exact terms of the ban. If it was just a forced removal of TikTok from US app stores, she would still be able to reach American users who already had the app installed on their phones, she said.

For now, Uebezz maintains normal operations in the US, where many of the company’s goods are stored at a local warehouse waiting to be sold, Luo said.

Hong advised sellers to keep calm and carry on. “Just do whatever you can, and see how things develop before the 270-day deadline,” he said.

This article was first published on SCMP

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