TikTok Announces Plan to Invest Billions of Dollars in Southeast Asia

TikTok announced a plan to invest billions of dollars in Southeast Asia over the next few years as part of a strategy to double down on the region despite increasing worldwide criticism over its data security, Reuters reported on Thursday.

With a total population of 630 million, Southeast Asia is one of TikTok’s most populous regions. But with the established competitors like Sea’s Shopee, Alibaba’s Lazada, and GoTo’s Tokopedia, the platform has been unable to turn its massive user base into a significant income source in the region.

The CEO of the popular short-form video app TikTok, Shou Zi Chew, recently spoke at a session in Jakarta, Indonesia about the social and economic impact of the app, where he stated that the company would be investing billions of dollars in Indonesia and Southeast Asia over the next few years, as the platform gains more users and moves beyond advertising into e-commerce, allowing users to make purchases through the app during live streaming.

The investment plan comes at a time when some governments, including the US, the UK, and New Zealand, are scrutinizing a Chinese-owned application out of concern that Beijing may use it to gather user data or further its own interests.