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TikTok, YouTube and Meta Set Their Sights on E-commerce Licenses in Indonesia

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

In a bid to navigate the recent ban on online shopping via social media platforms in Indonesia, TikTok, YouTube and Meta are reportedly considering applying for e-commerce licenses in the country.

Credits: Unsplash

The ban, implemented by Indonesia's trade ministry, aimed to protect small and midsize offline merchants and marketplaces while ensuring data privacy. With Indonesia's population of over 270 million and nearly $52 billion in e-commerce transactions last year, these tech giants see great potential in the Indonesian market.

TikTok, owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, had previously announced plans to invest billions of dollars in Southeast Asia, particularly in Indonesia, where it boasts a user base of 125 million. The ban dealt a blow to TikTok's ambitions, but the company is now exploring the best path to obtain an e-commerce license. TikTok is also in talks with local e-commerce players, including GoTo's Tokopedia, for potential partnerships.

YouTube, owned by Alphabet, is also looking to secure an e-commerce license in Indonesia. While the specific type of permit has not been disclosed, YouTube has already introduced a shopping service in the United States, allowing creators to promote products and brands on the platform. The company declined to comment on its plans for Indonesia.

Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has already applied for an e-commerce license in Indonesia. However, the license sought by Meta only allows the promotion of goods on its platforms and does not permit direct e-commerce transactions.

Meta's application is currently under review by the Indonesian trade ministry. It is worth noting that TikTok and YouTube have not yet approached the authorities regarding their e-commerce license applications. If TikTok decides to proceed, it would need to establish a domestic unit in Indonesia. The potential entry of these tech giants into the Indonesian e-commerce market could bring significant opportunities for growth and innovation.

  • TikTok, YouTube and Meta are considering applying for e-commerce licenses in Indonesia following the ban on social media-based online shopping.

  • Indonesia's large population and substantial e-commerce transactions make it an attractive market for these tech giants.

  • TikTok, with its significant user base in Indonesia, is exploring partnerships with local e-commerce players and developing a standalone TikTok Shop app.


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