Chinese photo-sharing app Kuaishou lands US$ 350M strategic investment led by Tencent

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Buzz surrounding China’s video and live streaming craze continues this week as Kuaishou, a video editing and sharing app, announcing the completion of a US$ 350 million USD investment led by Tencent, before a potential IPO reportedly slated for the second half of this year.

The new funding is earmarked for improving product experience and R&D,  the company said in a statement, adding that they will invest more in cutting-edge technologies like AI and video analytics technologies to keep the company ahead.

In addition to Tencent, Kuaishou’s previous investors include bigwigs like Sequoia, DCM, and Baidu. But it is still not clear whether the current investors will join this round.

Aside from capital cooperation, Kuaishou disclosed that they would partner with both Tencent and Baidu in product, technology, and services to promote user experience, a move which would further boost the company’s growth thanks to the support from the two Chinese tech giants.

“Kuaishou has brings people closer with their focus on the recording and sharing everyday lives. It’s a product that close to users for its warmth and vigor,” said Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent.

“We believe by pooling together the two companies’ unique user insights, technological capabilities, and operational expertise, we will work closely with Kuaishou to capture the exciting business opportunities as demand for video content continue to grow rapidly,” Tencent told TechNode.

Kuaishou

As a pioneer in China mobile photo- and video-centric craze, Kuaishou, born out of a GIF Kuaishou, has gathered over 400 million users globally. Its app allows users to share video clips or live stream on a variety of topics from mundane activities, from eating food, shopping, and hair tutorials to funny or bizarre performances.

Data from the company shows that the daily active users on the app surpassed 50 million and over 5 million videos were updated every day. The company has launched an overseas version, Kwai,  but the new app is still gaining momentum.

Despite its huge popularity in China, the company is maintaining a relatively a low profile and is very cautious in getting public exposure, partially because the negative press they have gotten regarding vulgar content.  A large proportion of the users are believed to come from lower-tier cities or rural areas, and filmed vulgarity led to the unfair profiling of rural and regional Chinese.

However, the company is definitely trying to become a platform for a wider demographic.

CEO Su Hua told TechNode in a previous interview: “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.”