Tencent-backed short-video app Kwai tops download charts outside China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 May, 2018, 8:03am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 July, 2018, 6:01pm

A Chinese video sharing and live streaming platform popular for its country bumpkin videos at home is attracting a different type of user internationally as it soars in popularity in more than a dozen markets overseas.

Beijing-based Kwai, backed by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings, ranked as the most downloaded video social sharing app in South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Indonesia and Turkey, according to a press release distributed through PRNewswire on Monday, which did not give any specific download figures.

Kwai, known as Kuaishou in China, enables people to capture and share short videos instantly. The app, which had 120 million daily active users in April, quickly gained popularity within the country for its clips of stunts and pranks posted by young people living in small Chinese towns.

The platform has accelerated its move overseas since Chinese authorities last month tightened scrutiny on content posted on social media and online video platforms.

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More than 15 million videos are uploaded to Kwai every day, with the platform boasting celebrity users like G-Dragon, IU, Bae Suzy, Lim Yoona and Twice from South Korea, and popular Vietnamese singer Dong Nhi as well as other stars from the country such as Huy Cung, Toki Uni5, Ribi Sachi and Gino Tong.

The profile of Kwai users overseas is very different from its domestic Chinese market where more than 88 million Kuaishou active users are described as “typical small town youth” – 18 to 28 year olds who live in China’s tier three and tier four cites.

Kwai’s overseas popularity mirrors the success of another short-form Chinese video app, Beijing Bytedance Technology’s Douyin, known as Tik Tok outside China, which topped the Apple App Store’s global non-game download chart for the first quarter of 2018. Internationally Tik Tok it was downloaded 45.8 million times between January and March, leaving better-known apps such as Instagram and Facebook well behind, according to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower.

In South Korea, Kwai was ranked No 1 in the video editing app category and was the overall most downloaded mobile app in the country, according to the PRNewswire release. The company said its number of users exceeded 10 million less than a month after launching in South Korea in October last year.

Tencent-backed video app Kuaishou in overseas push amid increased China scrutiny

Kwai made its move into Vietnam a month later and achieved similar success by topping the charts as the most downloaded app in both Google Play and Apple’s app Store. Kwai also ranks as the most downloaded iOS app in the Philippines and Indonesian app Store.

The app is also available in Russia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Brazil, the US, India and the Middle East.

After being criticised by Chinese authorities in March for “vulgar, violent, gory, pornographic and harmful” information on its sites, Kwai uses both automatic and manual review systems to monitor all user-generated content. The company recently added a parental control function to enable adults to block their children from seeing unsuitable content.

In March this year, the platform removed over 430,000 videos that flouted Chinese regulations and blocked more than 25,000 accounts, according to the PRNewswire release.