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Kuaishou Technology operates China’s second-largest short video-sharing platform behind TikTok sister app Douyin, owned by ByteDance. Photo: Bloomberg

ByteDance rival Kuaishou posts 37 per cent quarterly sales growth

  • Beijing-based Kuaishou’s revenue surged to US$2.65 billion for the three months ended March
  • The company is now grappling with an influx of new rivals, from up-and-comers like Bilibili to super app WeChat
Short video-sharing app operator Kuaishou Technology reported on Monday a 37 per cent gain in first-quarter revenue, after TikTok-owner ByteDance’s biggest Chinese rival delved deeper into e-commerce and advertising.

The Beijing-based company’s revenue surged to 17 billion yuan (US$2.65 billion) for the three months ended March, compared with the 16.9 billion yuan projected by China Renaissance. Its net loss, however, widened to 57.8 billion yuan, compared with 30.5 billion yuan a year earlier.

Kuaishou, which operates China’s second-largest short video-sharing platform behind ByteDance’s Douyin, is trying to establish its place among a generation of mega-start-ups like food delivery giant Meituan and ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing.
Shares in Tencent Holdings-backed Kuaishou have more than doubled since its February coming-out party, the top performer among recent major Chinese tech listings in Hong Kong.


What is Kuaishou? Understanding China’s video-sharing app

What is Kuaishou? Understanding China’s video-sharing app
But the company co-founded by young entrepreneurs Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao is grappling with an influx of rivals, from up-and-comers like Bilibili to super app WeChat, even as it expands beyond its roots in video content.

Tencent’s ubiquitous social media app is venturing into TikTok-style clips, taking a page straight out of ByteDance and Kuaishou’s playbook.

Advertising surpassed virtual gifts or tips during live-streaming videos to become Kuaishou’s biggest earnings driver last year, while its nascent online marketplace grew several-fold in transactions from a low base.

Kuaishou’s results are closely watched by investors who fancy a slice of the Chinese social video market before ByteDance’s eventual stock market debut.

Kuaishou’s 2020 losses belie strong fundamentals, say analysts

ByteDance, the world’s most valuable start-up, is seeking to boost Chinese ad revenue by more than 40 per cent and triple the size of its e-commerce business this year, according to an internal memo.

Kuaishou’s latest quarterly results suggest the competition with ByteDance could be heating up. The company’s monthly active users expanded slower to 520 million, up from the 495 million users a year earlier.

Growth in online advertising sales eased to 161 per cent, versus 170 per cent in the December quarter. Revenue from live streaming fell 20 per cent, accelerating from the 7 per cent decline in the previous quarter, in part because of strict quarantine measures imposed at the start of 2020.

The division that includes e-commerce posted the strongest sales growth, rising sevenfold, after Kuaishou recorded gross merchandise value of 118.6 billion yuan, more than tripling from the year-earlier period.

Having amassed more than 300 million daily users across its domestic platforms, Kuaishou now hopes to replicate its success globally with apps like Kwai and Snack Video.

Kuaishou plans to ramp up investment in marketing and content in selected overseas markets, but monetisation will not pay off immediately, company chief executive Su told analysts in March.

Outside China, the company had more than 150 million users in April, up from more than 100 million in the first quarter, the company’s earnings results showed.

The overseas expansion comes as Kuaishou faces tougher antitrust scrutiny at home. It was among 34 leading Chinese internet firms ordered to comply with anti-monopoly rules in April and the company was recently rapped by the cyberspace regulator for its data collection policies.

“Starting in the first quarter of 2021, we have put greater emphasis on improving the value of our content creator’s private domain, the place on our platform where all content and products of a creator can be found and where creators build and nurture their followings,” the company said on Monday.