Kuaishou has suspended an e-commerce referral feature for Taobao products. The feature previously allowed listings from the e-commerce marketplace to be displayed in the short video app, local media reported.

Why it matters: The short video app has been doubling down on e-commerce features in the hope of commercializing its huge user base. Amid the company’s push into the e-commerce market, its potential cut of external partnerships with Alibaba’s Taobao might be a signal that the firm wants to foster its own e-commerce capability.

  • Content-driven e-commerce is a growing trend in China. More and more sellers use short video apps like Kuaishou and Douyin as effective ways to promote products. They are competing head-on with traditional e-commerce marketplaces like Taobao.
  • Tencent is reportedly going to invest $2 billion in the short video app’s $3 billion pre-IPO round at a valuation of $28.6 billion.

Details: Merchants on Kuaishou found that the can’t add product listings from Taobao stores since 23rd December.

  • A Kuaishou spokeswoman told TechNode that the feature suspension is caused by a system update, but she didn’t specify when the update will be finished and whether the feature will be restored after the update.
  • Product referals to other third-part platforms like JD, Youzan and Kuaishou-backed Mockuai are still available.

Kuaishou announces plans for 2020 Spring Festival Gala

Context: The company claims more than 200 million active users who spend an average of 60 minutes on the app per day. Of the total users, over 80% are post-90 generation youth. At present, the number of users who get income on the app reaches 19 million, according to the firm.

  • China’s new e-commerce law, which came into effect at the beginning of this year, broadens the definition of e-commerce operators to include players who do business through various online channels such as messaging apps like WeChat and video apps.
  • Douyin is also boosting its e-commerce features.
  • Similar to other e-commerce platforms, the Chinese short video app looks to tighten up its e-commerce offering.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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