Shopify logo. Photo: AFP / Ercin Top / Anadolu Agency

Canadian e-commerce company Shopify announced Tuesday a partnership with TikTok that will allow its more than one million online retailers to hype their wares on the teen-centric platform for short-form videos.

The deal comes amid scrutiny of the China-based app and a pending court hearing on TikTok’s future in the United States, where it reaches more than 100 million users monthly.

“We’re thrilled to be the first partner to welcome TikTok to the world of commerce, particularly right now, as our merchants prepare for a busy online holiday shopping season,” Shopify vice president Satish Kanwar said in a statement.

Shopify hosts e-stores for mostly small- and medium-sized businesses and in the eyes of many merchants has emerged as an alternative to Amazon’s online marketplace.

Its partnership with TikTok, it said, will allow TikTok users to simply click on shoppable video ads to buy products from Shopify merchants.

The two companies said they will also “collaborate to test new commerce features over the coming months.”

US President Donald Trump’s administration has insisted on the need to ban TikTok over national security concerns. 

It claims TikTok has links to the Chinese government through its parent firm ByteDance.

TikTok has repeatedly defended itself against allegations of data transfers to the Chinese government.

A US court is to consider next month whether to allow the government to effectively ban its use in the United States.

The stakes are high given that the TikTok mobile app has been downloaded about 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world, offering everything from make-up tutorials to dance routines and cookery tips.

Meantime, several potential American suitors have come forward looking to buy a stake in TikTok, including Silicon Valley giant Oracle and Walmart. 

But their proposals appear to be in limbo.

– AFP

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