TikTok has been holding talks with Indonesian e-commerce companies about possible partnerships, an Indonesian minister said on Monday, a month after Southeast Asia’s largest economy banned online shopping on social media platforms.
TikTok has spoken with five companies including GoTo’s e-commerce unit Tokopedia, Bukalapak.com and Blibli, according to Teten Masduki, minister for small-medium enterprises (SMEs), Reuters said.
“Some e-commerce companies in Indonesia have talked to TikTok,” he said in an interview, citing what the companies’ executives told him.
Indonesia’s trade ministry implemented the ban last month, aiming to protect smaller brick-and-mortar merchants and ensure the protection of users’ data.
It was a particular blow to TikTok, which was forced to close its e-commerce service TikTok Shop. TikTok has 125 million users in Indonesia.
A TikTok Indonesia spokesperson was not available to comment.
Tokopedia declined to comment. A representative for Bukalapak said the company was unaware of such talks. Blibli did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
TikTok and YouTube are considering joining Meta in applying for e-commerce licenses in Indonesia after Southeast Asia’s largest economy banned online shopping on social media platforms, people familiar with the discussions have said.
The app, owned by Chinese technology giant Bytedance, was also pursuing talks with local e-commerce players, they added.
Teten, one of the staunchest critics of TikTok Shop prior to the ban, said he has been tasked by President Joko Widodo to formulate rules on e-commerce.
He plans to meet TikTok Chief Executive Shou Zi Chew later this month.
I want them to commit to have a sustainable business that does not harm domestic SME products,” he said.
Teten also said he has proposed further regulations for the flow of imported goods into the country but did not provide details.
Until it stopped operations, TikTok Shop was delivering about 3 million parcels a day in Indonesia, sources have said.
Indonesia’s e-commerce market is expected to grow to around $160 billion by 2030 from $62 billion this year, according to a report on Southeast Asia’s internet economy by Google, Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings and consultancy Bain & Co.
Other major e-commerce players in Indonesia include SEA’s Shopee and Alibaba’s Lazada.