TikTok wants to leverage its 3 million content creators and 2.4 million sellers to help foster Thailand's creative industry while it prepares to compete with YouTube.
According to Digital Advertising Association (Thailand), TikTok has 49 million users in Thailand.
The company said earlier it is in the process of establishing a local TikTokShop office in Thailand, aiming to do so this year.
TikTok Technologies Ltd is registered in Thailand and mainly operates as a digital marketing and creator business. It was upgraded from a representative office to a permanent office.
According to the Creative Economy Agency, in 2021 Thailand's creative industry tallied a value of 1.1 trillion baht, accounting for 6.81% of the country's GDP. The number of people engaged in the creative sector surged to 963,549 in 2022, underscoring its growing impact on the nation's economy, noted the agency.
TikTok is investing US$400 million in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, to fuel a smart economy, smart people and smart environment to sustainably support a creative economy, said Chanida Klaiphan, head of public policy in Thailand for TikTok.
The company's "TikTok For All" initiative aims to unlock opportunities and create a positive impact for Thais and the creative economy, she said.
The company reports Thailand has more than 3 million creators that earn an income on TikTok and more than 2.4 million sellers (99% of them local) supported by TikTok. A study found 36% of surveyed creators earn more than the minimum wage on TikTok, which is empowering a creator economy.
Ms Chanida said TikTok provides digital skills and literacy to Thai communities, including an online curriculum for Thai youths in partnership with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
TikTok also provides digital skill training in partnership with the Community Development Department that supports 532 One Tambon, One Product (Otop) businesses in the first phase, with a target to reach more than 1,000 Otop enterprises this year.
Pisut Rojlertjanya, head of operations in Thailand at TikTok, said the company wants to provide a trusted entertainment platform. In Southeast Asia, the company has 325 million active users and 15 million business users.
This year the company plans to partner with filmmakers and over-the-top operators, he said.
Mr Pisut said by this March, TikTok will offer an in-app feature called "Entertainment Hub" as a gateway to Southeast Asian entertainment offering trendy movies and series.
"We will help local content creators export to South Korea and Japan," he said.
Viewers of one-minute TikTok videos have increased by 41% the past six months, seven times higher than the uptick for short videos, said Mr Pisut.
According to TechCrunch, TikTok has piloted videos lasting 30 minutes in length in some countries.
TikTokShop plans to continue supporting local sellers and businesses by enhancing e-commerce opportunities through the convergence of entertainment content and shopping, said Kornnikar Niwatsaiwong, the company's head of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and e-commerce in Thailand.
The platform offers a report system for brand owners if they find fake products and reviews user feedback, as well as providing a refund policy.
She said the e-commerce sector will continue to have intense competition.