TikTok has refuted a report in the Financial Times that it has abandoned plans to roll out live ecommerce in continental Europe.
The social media platform, which recently had to deal with staff unrest and claims of an aggressive workplace culture in its UK office, told Campaign it had never planned to launch its TikTok Shop feature in major European markets in the first half of 2022, and is currently focused on getting its UK offering right.
TikTok Shop, which launched in the UK last year, allows brands and TikTok creators to broadcast live and sell products through the video app.
The newspaper reported that TikTok had abandoned plans to expand the functionality into major European markets, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, in the first half of the year due to it “struggling to gain traction” in the UK. It also claimed that creators were pulling out of TikTok Shop brand partnerships because they were not getting a big enough return.
A spokesperson said TikTok had never planned to launch in Europe in the first half of 2022 and that its focus was on the UK, after recently launching in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and Vietnam, and last year in Indonesia.
"We are always looking at ways to enhance our community's experience and regularly test new features that inspire creativity, bring joy and innovate the TikTok experience in markets around the world,” the spokesperson added.
“Brands on TikTok have found a creative outlet to authentically connect with audiences, and we're excited to experiment with new commerce opportunities that enable our community to discover and engage with what they love."
Campaign understands that although international expansion is on TikTok's agenda, several conditions for a European launch have yet to be satisfied. These include macroeconomic considerations, the local merchant landscape and the availability of a talent pool to deliver the service.
The platform said that its live videos (known as LIVEs) on TikTok Shop supports “hundreds” of creators and businesses.
Ecommerce functionality is well established in China, including in TikTok's sister app Douyin. According to the FT, Douyin has reported sales tripling year on year to more than 10 billion products.