E-Commerce Malaysia’s Chair Ganesh Kumar Bangah has weighed in on the issue regarding TikTok Shop and said banning TikTok Shop would severely affect numerous local SMEs, creators, and e-commerce enablers like what Indonesia has done, will also inadvertently restrain the growth and reach of the local businesses, especially the micro SMEs which constitute a significant 78.4% of businesses in our nation.
The outfit under PIKOM, said TikTok Shop has catalysed a seismic shift in ‘social commerce’, connecting creators and businesses directly with consumers for e-commerce. It is one of the most significant e-commerce innovations witnessed in recent decades, intertwining social media and online trading in a manner reminiscent, yet surpassing, the transformative wave initiated by marketplace platforms like eBay decades ago.
Given that prominent e-commerce marketplaces operating in Malaysia, such as Lazada and Shopee, are foreign-owned, outright bans on others could potentially stifle the entrepreneurial spirit among the rakyat and local businesses. This scenario particularly impacts the B40 demographic adversely by limiting accessible platforms to sell their goods.
e-Commerce Malaysia has recommendations instead for:
· Community Engagement: TikTok Shop should actively engage with industry associations, creator communities, and e-commerce enablers on local policies including revenue sharing policies before unilaterally determining and making decisions on such policies which may detrimentally affect the local business climate and TikTok Shop’s reputation in the community.
· Upholding and Fostering Local Capacities: TikTok Shop should prioritise the capacity building of local creators and e-commerce enablers over foreign ones through workshops, training, and platform tools that enable local players to navigate and leverage the digital market effectively and ethically.
· Community Investment: TikTok Shop should also partner with local communities, industry associations and government agencies to co-fund capacity development programmes for local creators and SMEs that enhance the capabilities and competitiveness of local entities.
· Prioritisation of Local Brands and Enablers: TikTok Shop should prioritise local brands and e-commerce enablers over foreign owned ones by ensuring that local consumer traffic is channelled to local brands and e-commerce enablers rather than foreign owned ones.
eCommerce Malaysia said the Government, while keeping a firm eye on local interests, can then craft policies that do not solely exclude global platforms like TikTok Shop, but rather encourage them to weave constructive community investment and involvement into their operational fabric.