TikTok is planning to launch its e-commerce business in the US early next month, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Similar to the “Sold by Amazon” program, TikTok’s online marketplace will store and ship a variety of products from sellers based in China, including clothes, kitchen gadgets, and electronics.
The “TikTok Shop Shopping Center” described contains different channels where users can browse through and buy products. TikTok will handle marketing, transactions, logistics, and after-sale services, the WSJ reports, while users will also get the ability to leave reviews for both products shipped by TikTok and external sellers.
TikTok’s online marketplace has been rumored to be in the works for a while now, with a June report from Semafor suggesting that the video platform will integrate its online marketplace into the app under an e-commerce tab. TikTok has already rolled out a shopping tab and live shopping features in countries outside the US.
According to the WSJ, TikTok will only pay Chinese suppliers once they find buyers in the US and will return unpopular items “to avoid being stuck with inventory.” The company reportedly plans to open up its program to merchants outside of China as it works to create an “international settlement and logistics system.”
While Semafor initially reported that the marketplace could launch in the US this month, the WSJ says TikTok delayed the launch. Chinese retailers have grown concerned about the app’s future in the US, as Montana has signed a law that will ban the app starting next year, and lawmakers are pushing for a federal ban.
TikTok’s online marketplace will go head-to-head with Amazon in addition to several other rising China-based retailers, including Temu and Wish. There’s also the fast fashion company Shein, which recently paid influencers to tour its factories after facing accusations of forced labor.