TikTok vs Kuaishou: Hottest Short Video Platforms for New Business Opportunity

Last Updated on January 19, 2024

Short video platforms are incredibly popular because they have a high ratio of user engagement and retention. Douyin and Kuaishou are two completely separate entities but undoubtedly the most used short-video platforms in Mainland China. These apps are also an effective way to connect with a targeted audience, especially young, tech-savvy Chinese consumers who take their phones everywhere.

If you have no idea how to integrate TikTok or Kuaishou into your brand’s marketing strategy, we’ve got you covered! With this post, you’ll gain a better understanding of these social media platforms, as well as their features that work well in engaging Chinese users.


What Is TikTok (Douyin) & Kuaishou used for in China?

TikTok, aka Douyin, backed by the tech giant ByteDance, is one of the most popular social media platforms in China and worldwide. This short-video platform has more than 1.05 billion monthly active users with the potential to become the leader in China’s e-commerce market.

As of writing, Chinese app stores have recorded around 196.6 million downloads, excluding users that install Douyin through third-party services.


Tiktok vs. Kuaishou


Meanwhile, Kuaishou is China’s second hottest short-video app, with over 355.7 million daily users in 2022. The platform has the most extensive short-video library in the world, with over 20 billion videos. Besides the growing user base of this social media platform, it’s quickly becoming the main rival of TikTok’s Chinese version because of its increasing livestream business revenue in Mainland China. Its 18.8% annual income growth got the attention of many Chinese companies and overseas brands, causing it to be an alternative app for those who find Douyin (TikTok) saturated.


The Difference Between The Two Short-Video Platforms

Initially, Chinese people downloaded TikTok (Douyin) app because of its music-like features that users can integrate into short videos. Because of this, the Chinese and international version of the Douyin app gained popularity through trendy content such as dancing, singing, and lip-syncing. Meanwhile, Kuaishou encourages users to share stories involving their daily life. While the two platforms offer almost the same app features, they have different user interfaces and content distribution.

Nevertheless, it’s important to note that Douyin and TikTok are two apps with separate channels. While international users can download it from an overseas Apple store or an Android marketplace, the Chinese TikTok version (Douyin) is not accessible outside China.

Like Douyin and TikTok, companies and users from other countries can create an account and gain access to video content from Kuaishou through its international app, Snack Video or Kwai. Its availability in a regular app store provides it with a broad range of audiences. However, like the Chinese TikTok, 87% of Kuaishou’s app reach still comes from the China market.


TikTok or Kuaishou


Many believe that people who download Douyin and Kuaishou are primarily women who interact and entertain themselves with short videos. However, if you look at the recent statistics, 54% of the Douyin account user base are males. On the other hand, 68.26% of people watching short videos on Kuaishou are men.

The typical Douyin account holder is younger, while Kuaishou mainly deals with the China market from rural areas. Ultimately, the user preference for which social media app to use comes down to user location. People in 1st and 2nd-tier Chinese cities (such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen) find TikTok more accessible and relatable. In contrast, users in lower-tier cities (such as Urumqi and Zhuhai) prefer Kuaishou for its real-time video content.


Douyin Focuses More On Quality Content

More users living in tier 1 and tier 2 cities prefer to download Douyin (TikTok) because of its high-quality content. On top of that, Douyin offers easy access to the most viral content to entertain the younger user base, encouraging new accounts to participate and upload their personalized content. TikTok also strongly focuses on premium content distribution techniques that your company can utilize through strategic KOL marketing plans. You may not know, but local influencers are likelier to get the most traffic from any user age group. Advertisers who intend to implement targeted ads in the app can collaborate with KOLs by asking them to participate in hashtag challenges and other promotional campaigns.

As previously stated, Kuaishou has more followers living in rural areas. Although it’s still behind the Chinese version of TikTok, this app forms a more substantial and targeted social circle. Kuaishou understands its reach well, so the app distributes content to users from about 50% of the accounts they already follow. The focus on social engagement is why Chinese users and smaller-niche KOLs keep uploading content on Kuaishou. This user account base in the platform is more likely to go viral through the community-centric content style, allowing Kuaishou to generate a higher user engagement rate than TikTok or Douyin.


Kuaishou and Tiktok live streaming


Kuaishou Has More Live-Streaming Features

Realizing its increased competition in the short-video market, Kuaishou expanded its services and gave its user base more access to live-streaming features. Upon tapping this niche, 50% of their local content section includes real-time content. Their live-streaming has unique features, such as local Karaoke singing with personalized chatrooms. This type of customized engagement can occur due to the platform’s social-driven nature. When you download Douyin, you’ll notice that it only has about half of the live-streaming content available compared to Kuaishou. The lack of feature varieties in the app makes users less likely to watch live streaming on the TikTok platform.


E-Commerce On TikTok & Kuaishou Short Video Platforms

It’s not a secret that TikTok (Douyin) has been steadily increasing its reach into e-commerce by allowing KOLs to create their virtual stores. It will enable brands to promote their products via KOLs for a commission fee. Despite this push, it’s hard to ignore that companies advertising in Kuaishou still have a higher e-commerce conversion rate than those from TikTok. If you ask our expert team, it’s because Kuaishou has a more tight-knit community and substantial user relationships.


E-commerce on TikTok


According to a Kuaishou report, the e-commerce conversion on Kuaishou is 5 to 10 times higher than TikTok. However, it’s worth noting that not all types of products sell well in Kuaishou. Some of the top categories that will work well in the platform are low-cost clothing and cosmetics.  While the latter may have a weaker e-commerce conversion rate, TikTok advertising can offer a more extensive audience reach and continually increase growth. Because of the stable popularity of Douyin, international brands around the world are keener on advertising within the app instead of choosing Kuaishou as an alternative e-commerce channel.


E-commerce on Kuaishou


Marketing On TikTok & Kuaishou

TikTok (Douyin) and Kuaishou can be promising avenues for marketing your products. Each uses artificial intelligence to fuel the platform’s algorithm and keep users watching. TikTok videos are usually high-quality and require more planning to make the right impression and connect with users genuinely. Regardless of which apps you use for marketing your products and services, it’s a no-brainer that videos featuring the top influencers or popular dances will get the most views.

To give its user base fresh and new content, did you know that Kuaishou’s algorithm pushes popular videos away from users once the video has a certain number of views? This approach makes it much easier for users that are less popular or may be new to the platform to get a chance to rise in the rankings. If you’re a new company wanting to enter the China market, marketing in Kuaishou can give you more opportunities to get viral than TikTok.


Marketing on TikTok & Kuaishou


How Does the Chinese Government Regulate Douyin & Kuaishou in Mainland China?

The social media industry undoubtedly affects the continuous growth of the Chinese market. Because of this, companies wanting to download Douyin and Kuaishou to promote their brand must abide by regulations that protect the legal rights of the Chinese government and its citizens. Here are a few points you must take note of before launching marketing and advertising campaigns on these platforms:

  • Content censorship: You should know that the Chinese government has a strong influence and control over the content circulating in the country’s virtual market. Advertisers and brands posting in Douyin (TikTok) and Kuaishou must comply with each platform’s comprehensive content moderation systems to ensure compliance with Chinese laws and regulations.
  • User data and privacy: Douyin and Kuaishou must provide stored user data and media when requested by the authorities in the country.
  • Real-name registration: Users and brands must record their real names and company information when signing up for an account. The government requires this to ensure individuals are accountable for their online activities.
  • Self-censorship: Douyin and Kuaishou employ content moderators who review and filter content before publishing it on the platform. This practice ensures compliance with government regulations.


TikTok vs. Kuaishou: Which Should You Use in the China Market?

The social media platform that you choose depends on your overall business needs. You should download Douyin to focus on advertising to many users. It could be an excellent avenue to connect with consumers in first and second-tier cities where users are more willing to spend money on higher-costing products. Kuaishou has more robust user engagement and a more substantial e-commerce conversion rate. Thus, it would be better for brands that want to serve a niche market with relatively low-cost products.

Brands must recognize the value of short-video platforms like TikTok and Kuaishou. It can have an impact on their brand and marketing campaign potential. Kuaishou’s more natural style of content development and TikTok’s more vibrant and creative content style still have a lot of room for growth.

The Chinese social media landscape is constantly evolving, and these platforms are both great for brands to attract younger Chinese consumers, so get in touch with us if you want to learn more about how to succeed in social media marketing on TikTok and Kuaishou.

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