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American TikTok Sellers Reach Half a Million Despite Potential Ban

Daniel Kim Views  

Reuters-Yonhap News

While the U.S. political community passed a bill to force the sale of TikTok, a Chinese video platform, it was announced that the number of American sellers registered on TikTok’s e-commerce platform exceeded 500,000. As the bill’s implementation approaches, it is analyzed that TikTok is expanding its influence in the U.S., especially among the younger generation.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported on the 2nd (local time), citing a report released by TikTok. This is more than double the figure from three months ago. Previously, TikTok Shop had more than 15 million sellers as of December last year, and it revealed that the number of sellers increased by more than 6 million in the second half of the year.

TikTok Shop is a live commerce platform where users can click and purchase a product on the spot when short-form producers expose a product to content. Since its first launch in Southeast Asia early last year, it expanded its market to the U.S. in September last year, following the U.K. Three months after entering the U.S. market. It recorded a sales transaction of $11 billion as of December last year.

The popularity of TikTok Shop in the U.S. is expected to be an obstacle to implementing the TikTok Business Rights Forced Sale Act. The U.S. Senate passed a compulsory sale bill on the 23rd of last month that prohibits services in the U.S. if TikTok operator ByteDance does not sell its stake in TikTok by January next year. Accordingly, TikTok must sell its business rights by January 19th next year, and the president can extend the deadline for an additional three months. The U.S. Congress believes that ByteDance is controlling the Chinese government to leak the personal information of TikTok users in the U.S.

In response, TikTok is in a position to take legal action, arguing that it violates the First Amendment, which stipulates freedom of expression. In particular, there are conflicting opinions among generations within the U.S. about the TikTok ban. According to a poll conducted jointly by Reuters and Ipsos on 29-30th of last month, 60% of respondents over 40 supported the TikTok ban, while only about 40% of respondents aged 18~39 agreed. TikTok is mainly used by those under 18, but they were not included in this survey.

There are forecasts that the bill could stimulate the younger generation’s votes and adversely affect Joe Biden’s re-election. Donald Trump pushed for the expulsion of TikTok during his term but recently voiced opposition to the bill’s passage, mindful of voters ahead of the election. For these reasons, it is predicted that it will be difficult for TikTok to be banned in the U.S.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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