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China’s Jackass? Kuaishou CEO Says They Are More Than That
Kuaishou, a video clip editing and sharing app, is among a raft of video platforms that are tapping China’s ongoing video and live-streaming boom. The five-year-old app has caused a sensation on China’s social media recently because of the viral spread of their Jackass-style videos.
Dangerous and self-injuring pranks like eating strange things, drinking excess liquor, jumping into icy rivers and putting fireworks in one’s own crotch are among the most popular videos on the platform. One popular user on Kuaishou named “Gourmet Sister Feng” attracted lots of followers by feasting on light bulbs, whole cubes of wasabi, live goldfish and burning cigarettes.
However, becoming the Jackass of China is not something Kuaishou aimed to do, and shocking videos is just part of the their video content, the company’s CEO Su Hua said in an interview with TechNode.
“We view Kuaishou as a kaleidoscope. The types of videos shared on Kuaishou are varied and diverse. In most cases the videos are simple depictions of joyful moments in everyday situations.”
Apart from stunts, the videos that pull in the most followers range from mundane activities, such as eating food, shopping, and hair tutorials, to funny or bizarre performances.
“In line with the state’s scrutiny on online content, we have a number of initiatives in place to scrutinize and supervise the content, … including advanced multiple-technology filtering, strict manual reviews, a detailed live broadcast behavior code as well as reminders and guidance rules in eye-catching places within the app to alert users.”
Although Kuaishou’s clips have been criticized for being “vulgar” and “coarse”, they have won popularity among young Chinese seeking online novelty. Su noted that 87 percent of Kuaishou’s users are from the post-90’s generation.
For most of us, Kuaishou might be a lesser-known name. It now boasts a substantial 200 million-strong user base, who have uploaded nearly 900 million videos in total. Data from leading telecoms carrier China Unicom shows that the app topped traffic consumption on their network, eclipsing that of Weibo and WeChat, the two biggest mobile apps of the Chinese market.
However the fame was highly controversial, as Kuaishou’s users are widely believed to be from China’s lower-tier cities or rural areas, and filmed vulgarity led to the unfair profiling of rural and regional Chinese.
The app failed to draw the attention of the public in the past, despite a huge user base. It shows that although rural people account for a great proportion of the Chinese population, their voice is scarcely heard by mainstream society.
“It is commonly thought that Kuaishou is focusing on users living in third to fourth-tier cities and rural areas, but this is not really the case. 85 percent of Kuaishou users are from second-tier cities and below, and 15 percent are from first-tier cities, which is in line with China’s Internet user demographic.”
“Many other social media platforms focus their attention on first-tier city users, which perhaps artificially enlarges their popularity figures.”
“We have not split target users but want to give all people the opportunity to share fun and joy, regardless of whether they live in urban or rural areas.” Kuaishou’s CEO explained.
Like most video and live-streaming services, virtual gifts are a major revenue source for Kuaishou. “We have officially launched this function in Q2. It has generated approximately one hundred million yuan in revenue so far.”
“We plan to launch a short video advertising business in Q3 this year. In the future we also plan to introduce membership-based services as well as other added-value services to build up our revenue sources.” Su said.
Local success has prompted the company to seek overseas markets. A regional head office has been set up in Singapore this year in an attempt to tap the South East Asia markets.
“We have already taken steps to enter Indonesia and India. In Indonesia, we are launching an English-language short video social platform named Wakaka”, said Su.