Daily live-streaming users on short video-sharing app Kuaishou surged to 170 million during the first half of this year, boosted by increased e-commerce activity and the vast number of original content published by its army of Gen Z creators. “We see a high conversion rate of Kuaishou users who turn to live-streaming e-commerce on our platform,” said Yu Shuang, vice-president of e-commerce business at Beijing-based app operator Kuaishou Technology, in an email interview on Thursday. “Data shows that 32 per cent of Kuaishou users buy products because they trust the live streamers’ recommendations.” The growth in daily live-streaming users, up from about 100 million at the end of December last year, has been helped by Kuaishou’s large base of Gen Z users , those born between 1995 and 2002, according to the app’s first-half content ecosystem report released on Wednesday. Seventy per cent of users who published content on Kuaishou from July 2019 to June this year were under the age of 30, the report said. There were about 300 million content creators globally who have published on the platform, known as Kwai overseas, during the same period. Kuaishou to invest 3 billion yuan in Chengdu to build live-streaming e-commerce headquarters Daily e-commerce users on Kuaishou exceeded 100 million in the first six months of this year, according to the report. It said 15 per cent of those users come from China’s first-tier cities; 30 per cent, second-tier cities; 24 per cent, third-tier cities; and 31 per cent, fourth-tier cities. Those numbers reflect the broader popularity of live-streaming e-commerce in China, as a growing number of traditional merchants move their retail operations online amid the countrywide lockdowns and social distancing measures imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. While ByteDance-owned rival Douyin, the Chinese-language version of TikTok, continues to lead in the local video-sharing market, Tencent Holdings-backed Kuaishou has swiftly expanded its “shoppertainment” initiatives, in which its content creators and influencers help drive online retail campaigns. Kuaishou this year launched its own shopping festival, the “616 Shopping Carnival”, for its users. The platforms also collaborated with e-commerce giant JD.com to introduce a 24-hour special online retail campaign, “Doubling 10 billion-yuan subsidies shopping extravaganza”, which generated 1.4 billion yuan (US$200 million) worth of paid transactions on June 16 alone. ByteDance rival Kuaishou launches its first offline venture: a karaoke lounge In e-commerce, the categories that saw the most substantial increase in vendors on Kuaishou during the first half of this year were apparel, local services, home, cars, and beauty and cosmetics, according to the app’s report. Other businesses that took up live-streaming campaigns during the same period included smartphones and education. “The statistics of user growth shown in Kuaishou’s report is impressive,” said Ge Jia, an independent analyst based in Beijing. “But more importantly, we should also look at the platform’s commercialisation and monetisation strategies, which I think were very successful.” Still, Ge indicated that the domestic market was “already highly mature and saturated with multiple strong players”. China’s short video market is currently dominated by Douyin and Kuaishou, with more than 400 million and 300 million daily active users, respectively. Other platforms in this market include Xigua Video from ByteDance and Tencent’s Weishi. Tencent super app WeChat also has its own short video feature called WeChat Channels, which helped widen the Shenzhen-based company’s reach in the market. Tencent-backed Kuaishou launches short video app for global audience – and it looks similar to TikTok “In the overseas market, there is still much space for acquiring new users,” Ge said. “Now that the user acquisition phase [in China] has passed, we’ll see how these platforms pivot beyond short videos.” In April, Kuaishou Technology released its second international short video app after Kwai to target users outside China. Snack Video is available on the Google Play app store. Early users and reviewers have pointed out similarities between the new app and TikTok, from its all-black theme to its search function. The Tencent-backed company recently opened its first offline business: a karaoke lounge. The 200-square-metre K-Station is located in a busy commercial district of Guangzhou, capital of southern Guangdong province. Founded in 2011, Kuaishou was initially created as a tool for creating animated GIFs. Its founders restructured the business in October 2013 into a short-form video social platform, which targeted users in lower-tier cities.