FILE - This Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, file photo, shows as logo of a smartphone app TikTok on a user post on a smartphone screen in Tokyo. Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify said Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, it’s made a deal with TikTok enabling merchants to create “shoppable” video ads that drive customers to online stores. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

FILE - This Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, file photo, shows as logo of a smartphone app TikTok on a user post on a smartphone screen in Tokyo. Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify said Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, it’s made a deal with TikTok enabling merchants to create “shoppable” video ads that drive customers to online stores. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Video app TikTok leans into e-commerce with Shopify deal

ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, already runs a thriving social media marketplace

The popular short-form video app TikTok, still under U.S. government scrutiny for its Chinese ownership, is moving closer to becoming a marketplace for buying stuff.

Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify said Tuesday it’s made a deal with TikTok enabling merchants to create “shoppable” video ads that drive customers to online stores.

The partnership was announced Tuesday amid stalled negotiations for Walmart to buy a 7.5% stake in the video app. Walmart’s planned investment is part of a government-forced deal that would rescue TikTok from a threatened ban by President Donald Trump and advance Walmart’s ambitions for the world of “social commerce.”

“If you’re watching a TikTok video and somebody’s got a piece of apparel or an item on it that you really like, what if you could just quickly purchase that item?” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon told CNBC earlier this month. “That’s what we’re seeing happen in countries around the world. And it’s intriguing to us, and we would like to be part of it.”

ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, already runs a thriving social media marketplace on Douyin, its twin video app for the Chinese market. Buying products through social media websites isn’t yet as common in the U.S., though Pinterest and Facebook-owned Instagram have made some inroads and TikTok last year began making it easier for businesses to link to themselves from the app.

Shopify said its merchants will be able to select which product they would like to promote. Then, video ads will be automatically generated that could show up in a TikTok user’s video feed and drive customers to Shopify for checkout.

TikTok said in a prepared statement Tuesday that Ottawa-based Shopify will be a “perfect partner to help us grow and expand our commerce capabilities globally.”

It’s not clear what the partnership means for TikTok’s negotiations with Walmart. Walmart and Shopify are on good terms, having teamed up against Amazon in June on a deal that enables Shopify’s small businesses to get listed on Walmart.com.

Trump said over the summer he would shut down TikTok unless ByteDance sold its U.S. assets to an American company, citing concerns about the potential for the Chinese government to spy on users’ data.

ByteDance in September proposed to U.S. authorities a partnership with Walmart, California tech company Oracle and other American investors designed to relieve national security concerns about the app. Trump expressed support for the idea but officials haven’t formally approved it.

Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok was also delayed until after next week’s U.S. presidential election after the company sued in federal court to halt the order.

Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press

TikTok

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Contributed Photo/Louisa Van Vliet)
Community Camera: November 26, 2020

Submit your photos to news@ahobserver.com

Volunteers sort food donations during the Agassiz Fire Department’s food drive on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Agassiz Fire Department/Facebook)
VIDEO: Agassiz Fire Department to host COVID-safe food drive

This year’s drive looks a little different

With news that Santa won’t be coming to Cottonwood Centre this year, April Blais wanted to set up a photo op with the jolly old elf in her front yard. (Submitted photo)
Chilliwack family blown away by response to Christmas light display

The Blais family has decked out their yard with holiday decor, collecting food bank donations

Abbotsford residents gather in the Clearbrook area on Monday to demonstrate against what they say is unfairt treatment by the Indian government to farmers in the Punjab region of that country. (Maan Sidhu photo)
Abbotsford residents gather to protest unfair treatment of India farmers

Locals believe new bills will devastate small farms, demand farmers be allowed to protest peacefully

The paraglider pilot, while attempting to free himself, dropped 30 feet and sustained serious injuries as Kent-Harrison Search and Rescue members worked quickly to extract him from the trees. They were able to get him to a waiting ambulance at the end of a nearby forest service road. (Contributed Photo/Dave Harder)
UPDATE: Rescued paraglider being treated for non-life threatening injuries

Pilot tried to self-rescue but sustained serious injuries in a 30-foot fall

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

Mirandy Tracy, left, and Tara Kurtz are two Langley mothers who are organizing a "sick out" for Tuesday, Dec. 1 to protest COVID conditions in schools. They're calling for masks and smaller class sizes, among other things. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Politician, labour leader throw support behind student Sick Out day

Langley parents started the movement to keep kids home on Dec. 1 as a protest

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A family emerged with a purchase at the Tannenbaum Tree Farm at 5398 252 St in Aldergrove on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Christmas tree season is off to an early start

People are ‘bored’ with staying home due to COVID-19 and want to decorate early, farm owner believes

A heavy police presence was on scene on Dec. 28, 2017 following the shooting death on Bates Road in Abbotsford of Alexander Blanarou, 24, of Surrey. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Three men charged with Abbotsford shooting death of Surrey man

Alexander Blanarou, 24, was killed in a rural area on Dec. 28, 2017

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

Most Read