May 11, 2021 at 05:00PM

TikTok has begun working with merchants in Europe to test in-app sales, a move that will likely heighten its rivalry with Facebook.

As Bloomberg reported Tuesday (May 11), TikTok wants to recreate the success of its Chinese-only sister app Douyin, which took in $26 billion from in-app sales in the first year of their eCommerce program. Sources say TikTok is working with brands that include the streetwear label Hype to find ways it can sell products to the app’s millions of European users.

TikTok has run promotional shopping campaigns before, but its work in Europe is setting the stage for a global eCommerce launch.

“The prototype so far is only visible to select participants and it remains unknown when the company will kick off the formal launch,” Bloomberg reported, saying a Hype representative confirmed the test but offered no further comment. Hype’s TikTok account storefront shows a range of products with images and prices.

TikTok parent ByteDance is engaged in an aggressive push to tap into the $1.7 trillion Chinese eCommerce world as it prepares for its initial public offering. Bloomberg says the company hopes to handle more than $185 billion in eCommerce per year by 2022.

This news comes just days after a report that ByteDance was adding thousands of employees as part of its eCommerce rivalry with Alibaba.

Among the new workers are hundreds hired to ferret out potential counterfeits before they reach customers. The company has also brought on major sponsors like Xiaomi Corp. Co-Founder Lei Jun. But this battle isn’t just playing out in China.

As Bloomberg notes, social media giants across the world are trying to get their own piece of the $5 trillion online retail market. Facebook has launched tools to improve shopping on its platform and on Instagram, while Pinterest now channels buyers to merchant’s websites.

For more on TikTok’s place in the social commerce world, read our report from last month.

TikTok Testing The In-App Commerce Waters …

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