The government of Indonesia is set to prohibit social media platforms from facilitating direct online payments on their platforms — a significant blow to TikTok, for whom the South Asian country makes for its largest eCommerce market.
The new rule aims to protect the country’s 64.2 million micro, small, and medium enterprises, contributing to 61% of the country’s gross domestic product. It has mainly been designed to curb TikTok’s eCommerce ambitions as it is the only social commerce platform currently facilitating direct eCommerce transactions.
For TikTok, the new ruling is especially problematic as its online shopping service is reportedly its fastest-growing feature among its growing user base in the country. The company also sees Indonesia as a blueprint for its growth ambitions in other major eCommerce markets, such as the United States.
TikTok has naturally pushed back on the forthcoming ruling, arguing that it would impede innovation and put millions of Indonesian consumers and merchants at a disadvantage, some of whom rely on the platform to make a living.
“Social commerce was born to solve a real-world problem for local traditional small sellers by matching them with local creators who can help drive traffic to their online shops,” a TikTok Indonesia spokesperson said. “While we respect local laws and regulations, we hope that the regulations take into account its impact on the livelihoods of more than 6 million sellers and close to 7 million affiliate creators who use TikTok Shop.”
While the new ruling will seemingly put TikTok at a disadvantage, it is a boon for the country’s eTailers, who stand to gain market share. It is no wonder that shares of Sea Ltd., the owner of the online shopping platform Shopee, rose 12% in New York.
Meanwhile, Tokopedia’s parent company, GoTo Group, saw its shares rise by 5.8% in early trading in Jakarta.