Social media platform TikTok will be launching a multi-million-dollar investment in aimed at helping more than 120,000 SMBs transition their businesses online and participate in the digital economy in Southeast Asia, according to the platform.
The US$12.2 million investment will comprise cash grants, digital skills training and advertising credits for SMBs, including micro businesses, in rural and suburban areas, it said.
Over the next three years, the 'Support Local' programme will aim to empower micro and small businesses, particularly those in rural areas, who may be new to social commerce. It will partner with over 25 government agencies and non-profit organisations across Southeast Asia and will give businesses the opportunity to reach new digital consumers through cash grants, digital skills training and advertising credits.
"Across Southeast Asia, more than 325 million people come to TikTok every month and 15 million businesses use the platform. The role we've played in expanding economic opportunities, education and community-building in this region and around the world is immense. We are excited to see the positive impact TikTok has had and are committed to continuing the work of helping individuals, communities, and businesses grow and thrive," said Shou Chew, the chief executive officer of TikTok.
In addition, in Indonesia, TikTok will partner the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Asosiasi Pusat Pengembangan Sumberdaya Wanita (PPSW), Platform Usaha Sosial (PLUS) and Telkom to launch TikTok Jalin Nusantara. This initiative will establish internet connectivity in community hubs across nine rural villages in East Nusa Tenggara and North Sumatra. Besides strengthening the local digital infrastructure.
TikTok Jalin Nusantara will offer training programmes in these villages, as well as in five creative hubs in key tourism and creative economy centres and five Telkom IndigoHubs. The programmes will provide the community with digital and financial literacy training, and essential digital skills modules such as content creation, e-commerce, and digital marketing, enabling them to participate in the digital economy.
The company will also collaborate with social enterprise Kid Kid, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to raise environmental awareness and action among youth in Thailand. This includes educational workshops and challenges on everyday sustainable lifestyle choices, such as waste segregation and energy consumption. The programme is in line with the company's goal of increasing educational climate content and achieving operational carbon neutrality by 2030.
The announcement comes after TikTok released a report titled The TikTok Effect: Accelerating Southeast Asia's Businesses, Education and Community Report. It found that 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.
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