Short-form video sharing platform TikTok announced a multi-million dollar investment in Southeast Asia to help more than 120,000 small and medium businesses (SMBs) transition their businesses online and participate in the digital economy.
The $12.2 million investment comprises cash grants, digital skills training and advertising credits for SMBs, including micro businesses, in rural and suburban areas.
This comes as TikTok has become a valuable platform for businesses and creators. According to The TikTok Effect: Accelerating Southeast Asia’s Businesses, Education and Community Report, SMBs polled increased their revenue by nearly 50% through selling their products and services on TikTok, and close to four in five businesses (79%) transitioned from offline to online marketing channels using the platform.
In addition, more than 80% of TikTok creators polled boosted their incomes through avenues such as TikTok LIVE and brand sponsorships.
There are over 325 million active TikTok monthly users in Southeast Asia while 15 million small businesses have presence on the platform in the region, shared Shou Chew, Chief Executive Officer of TikTok, during the launch of TikTok Southeast Asia Socio-Economic Report 2023 in Indonesia.
Over the next three years, TikTok’s “Support Local” program aims to empower micro and small businesses, particularly those in rural areas, who may be new to social commerce. Partnering with more than 25 government agencies and non-profit organizations across Southeast Asia, the program will give businesses the opportunity to reach new digital consumers through cash grants, digital skills training and advertising credits.
In the Philippines, TikTok has collaborated with the Department of Agriculture to form a strategic partnership with PLDT-Smart Foundation, Inc. and launch the Buy Local Bazaar program.
The first-of-its-kind initiative in the Philippines, the program aims to empower local farmers and fisherfolk by expanding their online selling opportunities on TikTok Shop. Under this initiative, the collaboration will identify potential farmers, conduct regular training sessions on online selling and provide connectivity support to get them onboard TikTok Shop.