Summary of TikTok Struggling to Rein In Rogue Sellers

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TikTok Struggling to Rein In Rogue Sellers summary

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Chinese short video app TikTok had introduced the shoppable post function to the China market long before Instagram added them to its app in 2019. Influencers, individual sellers, and retail companies all rushed to create commercialized content to cash in, pushing products in their videos that viewers could then purchase within the app from a shopping link below the video. Not all providers are legitimate, and plagiarism, misleading advertisement, scams and fake goods ran rampant on the platform. Zhou Xiaoqi, writing for Zinc Caijing, looks at the wild growth of sellers on TikTok what the company is doing to get the new online marketplace under control. 

About the Author

Zhou Xiaoqi is a writer for Zinc Caijing, a Chinese online business news platform.


TikTok, an app that lets users create and share short videos, allows content creators to sell products on the app. 

Short video content platform TikTok (known as Douyin in the China market) added ecommerce functions to its Chinese app in March 2018. The company initially invited a select group of influencers to include links to products on ecommerce platform Taobao. TikTok users were then able to buy the product within the app. Half a year later, TikTop made the function available to all content creators in China.

In January 2018, TikTok had just over 30 million daily active users in China. By October of the same year, that number exceeded 200 million. Injecting online shopping into the app made it a huge marketplace – a gold mine for vendors of all kinds. On its December 12, 2018, an annual shopping day in China similar to Singles’ Day, more than 7,000 TikTok content creators published videos with product links, which led to 12 million orders.

TikTok’s ad-to-sales conversion rates are higher than those of other platforms like WeChat and Weibo.

TikTok videos typically last no longer than 15 seconds, so video creators...

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