ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok is working with brands including streetwear label Hype to test in-app sales in Europe, a move that will intensify its competition with Facebook Inc. and further blur the line between social media and online shopping.
The popular video app is hoping to replicate abroad the success of its Chinese-only cousin Douyin, which racked up $26 billion of e-commerce transactions in just its first year of operation. TikTok has begun working with merchants in markets including the U.K. on ways they can sell products directly to millions of users within the app, people familiar with the matter say.
While TikTok has run promotional shopping campaigns in the past, the current trials are a precursor to a broader launch of a global e-commerce service. The prototype so far is only visible to select participants and it remains unknown when the company will kick off the formal launch. A Hype representative confirmed the test without commenting further. The label’s storefront under its TikTok account displays a range of merchandise with product images and prices, according to a screen grab provided to Bloomberg News.