It seems TikTok’s unchallenged reign over the world of short-form video may be in danger.
Chinese short-form video app, Kuaishou, has recently announced that it has reached one billion monthly active users. While the app is trailing TikTok’s projected 1.2 billion monthly active users, it has already surpassed its next closest competitor— Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese counterpart.
Known in overseas markets as “Kwai,” Kuaishou has approximately 15% of its users living outside mainland China, primarily in South America and Southeast Asia.
What is Kuaishou?
Launched in 2011 as a mobile application allowing users to create GIFs, Kuaishou has since introduced short-form video and live-streaming functions.
Debuting on the stock market earlier this year, Kuaishou has proven it is a force to be reckoned with, valued at £131 billion on its first day of trading in Hong Kong.
Kuaishou vs. TikTok
Rather than promoting music through dancing, singing and lip-syncing, Kuaishou gives “internet users globally the opportunity to record and share their life stories”, the company’s founder and CEO Su Hua explains.
Another major point of difference between the apps is their monetisation strategy. Where TikTok turns a profit as an ad-based social media platform, Kuaishou’s main revenue driver is its “tipping” service.
Mirroring other successful platforms such as Twitch and OnlyFans, Kuaishou encourages users to “tip” their favourite creators throughout live streams. These tips materialise in the app in the form of virtual gifts such as small digital stickers. Kuaishou then takes a portion of these tips.
According to CNBC, “live streaming revenue brought in 25.31 billion yuan of revenue in the first nine months of 2020, accounting for around 62% of total sales.”
While TikTok allows users to go live, the platform has yet to implement a tipping function.
Thanks to its massive user base and live-stream innovations, Kuaishou has earned the official broadcasting rights to the (belated) 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Winter Olympic games. Pushing the boundaries for social media platforms, Kuaishou is the first short video and live-streaming platform globally to become an official broadcaster of the Olympic Games.
Live-stream tipping is big money and unless TikTok adapts quickly, it may get left behind.