TikTok is a Chinese-owned app captivating hundreds of millions of teens in just a few years. It is thrilling dance videos, lip-syncing performances, and comedy routines.
Walmart is a 58-year-old American company known for massive box shops selling daily items, casual clothes, grocery stores, and televisions.
The two couldn’t be more different, at first glance. That’s why the announcement by Walmart that it was joining Microsoft in its attempt to buy the US operations from TikTok came as a surprise to so many.
But analysts who have watched China’s meteoric rise in internet trade as a mash-up of social media operation and frenzied online shopping give their opinion. Actually, Walmart’s interest in TikTok is all very well.
TikTok’s Chinese edition, Douyin, is one of many nationwide apps. It has tapped into the rapidly increasing number of Chinese shoppers who like to buy stuff on social media platforms.
For example, Douyin users and Tencent rival Kuaishou can buy goods after watching short videos about items. They tap into live influencer feeds peddling everything from make-up to furniture. Users can query influencers about items and get real-time feedback, or they can click on steep discounts that are only available in apps.
It’s like a modern shopping version via QVC or the Home Shopping Network. But then, it’s much more social and shrunk to busy screens on mobile devices.
Social Commerce is Growing Fast
Social commerce in China was worth $186 billion last year, more than 10 times the value of sales made in the United States, according to market research firm eMarketer.
The Chinese market expects to grow 30% this year to $242 billion.
Walmart has already acknowledged the value of e-commerce when it comes to TikTok. The company said Thursday that its interest in the app stems from the way it has “integrated e-commerce and advertising capabilities in other markets,” and added that TikTok could bolster Walmart’s access to consumers.