Two Emerging Chinese Short-Video Sharing Apps

How can brands make use of these Short-Video Sharing Apps to reach their target audience

Douyin and Kuaishou

Since their inception, social media platforms have always been essential tools for brands to reach their target audience, especially in China, where over one billion people use the internet every day.

However, besides WeChat (China’s WhatsApp), Weibo (China’s Facebook), and Youku (China’s YouTube), what other social media platforms should you utilise in order to communicate with your audience?

This article will introduce you to two emerging short-video sharing apps in China, which enjoy increasing popularity among Chinese consumers, especially younger consumers.

Kuaishou Video

Chinese Social Media Marketing

Kuaishou (快手, meaning ‘quick snap’), launched in 2011 in Beijing and backed by Tencent and Baidu, it is one of the fastest growing short-video sharing apps in China. With over 400 million users, Kuaishou is also the highest ranked app in the short-video sharing industry, which means that one in three internet users in China are using this app.

Standing out from other short-video sharing apps, Kuaishou does not use celebrities or KOL’s to attract traffic but aims to build a place where everyone’s voice has a chance to be heard. Kuaishou not only offers users an opportunity to have a glimpse of other people’s lives, but it also serves as a platform for them to build relationships with each other.

Kuaishou Video

For example, a video uploaded by a construction worker, which shows his working routine, received over two million views on Kuaishou. He has been sharing videos recording his process of losing weight and showing his special talents, for example, raising a 6-meter steel tube with one hand, and has gained many followers.

Users of Kuaishou generally have higher engagement and closer relationship compared to other short-video sharing platforms. In the above two videos published by the worker, each of them has received over 6,000 comments. “Fight, smile and keep going!” “Applause for our construction worker!” These are just some examples of the kinds of conversations on Kuaishou. 

Video users regard Kuaishou as an interesting and down to earth brand. Compared to other short-video sharing apps like Douyin, most of the users on Kuaishou are young females who live in small cities. According to a report by Penguin Intelligence, 66.6 percent of users on the app are under 24 years old, and over 61 percent of users live in third- and fourth-tier cities.

Douyin video

Douyin video

Lauched in September 2016 by Toutiao, one of China’s biggest tech start-ups, Douyin (抖音, meaning dynamic music) reached 100 million users in just six months.

Differing from Kuaishou, most of the videos on Douyin are creative social content and most people view Douyin as a fashionable and young brand where they can show off their personalities.

Douyin video

For example, Douyin lets users choose a song, record themselves miming and dancing to the tune. Moreover, Douyin offers various filters and speed options like time lapse and slow motion, which help users create more engaging and exciting content.

Compared to Kuaishou, users of Douyin are generally younger and have higher education levels. In addition, most of them are from bigger cities. Over 90 percent of the app’s users are under the age of 30, 66 percent are female, and over 45 percent live in first- and second-tier cities, the Penguin Intelligence report shows.

How can brands make full use of short-video sharing apps

For brands that target China’s Gen Z Consumers, these two emerging short-video sharing apps have increasing influence. Currently there are two popular ways for brands to promote themselves using short-video sharing apps.

The first choice is to work directly with these apps to launch branded campaigns. These campaigns could include a banner on the homepage, a promoted challenge hashtag, or a custom filter.

Douyin video

For example, Pizza Hut and Suning worked with Douyin to launch some interesting video filters. Despite the fact that these filters contain small brand logos, people are still happy to use them, which helps increase brand exposure to a large extent.  

Another way for brands to use short-video sharing apps is to work with KOLs. While KOLs do not necessarily mean celebrities, normal people seem to have more influence than celebrities in short-video sharing apps.

According to the Penguin Intelligence report, 57 percent of users will follow normal people who produce interesting and funny videos, 53 percent of users will follow people with a special talent, while only 20 percent of users said they would follow celebrities.

Chinese Social Media Marketing

A good example of working with KOLs is Adidas neo’s cooperation with two Chinese celebrities on Douyin. By producing engaging videos with celebrities, Adidas neo gained 150 million views and 1.2 million followers in one month after they became active.

While video-sharing platforms might not be the perfect fit for all brands, they offer great opportunities for those who are looking to experiment. Moreover, based on the fact that there are several platforms with different audience segments and various ways to work with them, it is important for brands to figure out which platform and methods best suit them. 


Source: Penguin Intelligence