Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 08): TikTok’s Legal Battle in the US and Amazon’s Expansion in South Africa

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 08): TikTok’s Legal Battle in the US and Amazon’s Expansion in South Africa

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TikTok Faces Ban in the US

ByteDance’s lifestyle app Lemon8 is gaining popularity in the US amid threats of a nationwide ban on TikTok. Described by US media as a blend of Pinterest and Instagram, Lemon8 has surpassed Pinterest and the dating app Tinder to become the most downloaded lifestyle app in the US Apple App Store since April 7. On Google Play, it has been ranked between 10th and 19th over the past month, trailing Pinterest and Amazon’s Alexa.

TikTok Sues US Government Over Ban

On May 7, TikTok filed a lawsuit against the US government, arguing that the “ban or sell” law infringes on First Amendment rights and impacts small and medium-sized businesses that rely on the platform. The company has described the law as an unconstitutional extreme, claiming it would force TikTok to cease operations by January 19, 2025. TikTok has also invested billions in data security and drafted a 90-page national security proposal to mitigate US government concerns.

eBay Introduces Advanced Product Research Tool

eBay has launched a sophisticated new Product Research feature, designed to provide sellers with comprehensive sales data going back as far as three years for previously sold items. This powerful tool, accessible through the latest versions of eBay’s iOS and Android apps, allows sellers to perform searches using various parameters like keywords, UPCs, and ISBNs.

It also includes options to customize search durations, apply filters, and sort results, thereby equipping sellers with granular data such as actual selling prices, average prices, shipping costs, and the number of sellers for each product. This enhanced capability aids sellers in making informed decisions about new listings and pricing, improving their competitive edge in eBay’s vast marketplace.

SHEIN Rises as a Top Fashion Retailer in the US

Ascending to become the third-largest online fashion retailer in the US, SHEIN has successfully outstripped traditional retail heavyweights such as Macy’s and Nike. This achievement highlights SHEIN’s focus on providing a varied and economical fashion selection, which has resonated well with budget-conscious consumers. In addition to its market success in the US, SHEIN has aggressively expanded its operations across Europe and Mexico through a self-operated platform model that began rolling out in May. This model enables local stocking and fulfillment by merchants, which facilitates quicker delivery times and enhances customer satisfaction.


Amazon Launches in South Africa

Amazon has officially launched its site in South Africa, aiming to compete with local giants like Takealot and bidorbuy. Projected to attract local customers with a wide selection of international and local goods, Amazon also plans to offer same-day and next-day delivery services. Although the Amazon Prime membership wasn’t launched concurrently, the new site marks a significant move into the potentially lucrative African e-commerce market.

Amazon’s Strategic Investments in the UK

Amazon has committed a significant investment of £500 million to construct a new, state-of-the-art distribution center in Northampton, UK. This initiative is poised to generate more than 2,000 local jobs, emphasizing Amazon’s contribution to regional employment growth. Scheduled for completion and operational launch in 2026, the facility will span approximately 2 million square feet and feature three levels of advanced robotics technology.

This setup is designed to optimize the handling and sorting of packages, thereby boosting operational efficiency and reducing delivery times. The new distribution center is a key part of Amazon’s strategy to enhance its logistical capabilities across the UK, supporting a network of over six thousand small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) partners in the East Midlands area alone.


Microsoft Amplifies AI Investment in Wisconsin

In a major economic boost, President Biden recently highlighted Microsoft’s substantial $3.3 billion investment in an artificial intelligence data center in Wisconsin. This strategic move is set to create 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,300 temporary construction jobs, marking a significant shift from the previously failed Foxconn project under the Trump administration. This investment not only revitalizes the local economy but also strengthens the U.S. position in global AI technology leadership.

Arizona Enhances Election Security with AI Training

Arizona is taking proactive measures to fortify its election integrity against AI threats by training election workers using deep fakes. This innovative training program, designed to simulate potential AI-generated attacks on election systems, aims to prepare workers for the complex challenges they might face during the electoral process. By exposing workers to these scenarios, Arizona hopes to safeguard this year’s elections from sophisticated cyber threats.

Google Advances Molecular Science with AlphaFold 3

Google’s DeepMind spinoff, Isomorphic Labs, has introduced AlphaFold 3, an advanced AI model capable of predicting molecular structures with unprecedented accuracy. This innovation is set to revolutionize drug discovery by enabling faster and more precise development of new therapies. AlphaFold 3 represents a significant step forward in biotechnology, potentially transforming how medical research and treatments are developed.

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