11 July 2024

Chinese-owned short video app TikTok on Monday announced a $1.5 billion investment in GoTo group in a deal that would allow it to restart its online shop in Indonesia, the companies said in a statement.

Under the deal, TikTok Shop will be merged into GoTo’s Tokopedia, and TikTok will have a controlling stake in that entity.

“TikTok has committed to invest over US$1.5 billion in the enlarged entity over time, to provide future funding required by the business, without additional dilution to GoTo,” the Indonesian firm said.

“TikTok, Tokopedia and GoTo will transform Indonesia’s e-commerce sector, creating millions of new job opportunities over the next five years.”

“The strategic partnership will commence with a pilot period carried out in close consultation with and supervision by the relevant regulators,” GoTo said, adding that it expected the deal to close in 2024.

TikTok in October shut down its online shop in Indonesia, one of its biggest markets.

That came days after Southeast Asia’s largest economy banned sales on social media to protect millions of small businesses.

The regulation means social media firms cannot conduct direct transactions but only promote products on their platforms in Indonesia, the first country in the region to act against TikTok’s growing popularity as an e-commerce site.

Indonesia’s e-commerce market is dominated by platforms such as Tokopedia, Shopee and Lazada but TikTok Shop gained a significant market share since launching in 2021.

Indonesia, with 125 million users, is TikTok’s second-largest global market after the United States, according to company figures.

The Indonesian ban came after calls grew for regulation governing social media and e-commerce, with offline sellers seeing their livelihoods threatened by the sale of cheaper products on TikTok Shop and other platforms.

The regulation was yet another setback for TikTok, which has faced intense scrutiny in the United States and other nations in recent months over users’ data security and the company’s alleged ties to the Chinese government.