TikTok vs Kuaishou: Hottest Short Video Platforms in China

Last Updated on June 11, 2024

Short video platforms are incredibly handy for marketers because these channels typically have high user engagement and retention rates.

Douyin and Kuaishou are undoubtedly the most used short video platforms in Mainland China. Marketing on these apps can help brands 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, is backed by the tech giant ByteDance. With more than 752 million monthly active users, it has the potential to become the leader in the Chinese social e-commerce market.

The prevalence of Douyin in the Chinese digital ecosystem cannot be underestimated, especially given that the average local user spends 100 minutes daily on the platform.


Douyin VS Kuaishou


Meanwhile, Kuaishou remains China’s second hottest short-video app, with over 700 million monthly active users in the fourth quarter of 2024. The platform is also widely known for having the world’s most extensive short video library, 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 attracted the attention of many Chinese companies and overseas brands, making it an alternative app for those who find Douyin (TikTok) saturated.


What is the difference between Kuaishou and TikTok (Douyin)?

Initially, Chinese people downloaded the TikTok (Douyin) app because of its music-like features that users can integrate into short videos. These functions are why Chinese and international versions of the Douyin app gained popularity.

The trendy content scattered all over the app, such as dancing, singing, and lip-syncing challenges, became particularly attractive to young audiences like Gen Z and Millennials.

Meanwhile, Kuaishou encourages users to share stories about their daily lives. While the two platforms offer almost the same app features, they have different user interfaces and content distribution.

It’s also important to note that Douyin and TikTok are two apps with separate channels. While international users can download the app from the Apple store or an Android marketplace, the Chinese TikTok version (Douyin) is inaccessible outside China.

Like Douyin and TikTok, companies and users from other countries can create an account and access Kuaishou’s video content 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


With the rapid rise of the She Economy in China, you may think that people downloading Douyin and Kuaishou are primarily women who interact with and entertain themselves with short videos.

However, according to recent statistics, 51.7% of the Douyin account user base are males. Similarly, 67.47% of people watching short videos on Kuaishou are men.

The typical Douyin account holder is younger, while Kuaishou mainly deals with the Chinese 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 & Kuaishou key figures 2024


  1. Douyin Focuses More On Quality Content

More users in tier 1 and tier 2 cities prefer downloading Douyin because of its high-quality, helpful content. It also offers easy access to the most viral content challenges to entertain the younger user base, encouraging them 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.


Douyin ads guide branded effects

Sticker challenges on Douyin for Burberry and Sprite


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.

This domestic app understands its audience demographic well, so it 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.


  1. Kuaishou Has More Live-Streaming Features than Douyin

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 section has niche-specific features, such as local Karaoke singing with personalized chatrooms, talk shows, or real-time online gaming competitions.


Kuaishou hot video platform China

Example of Kuaishou Live-streaming Section


Due to the platform’s social-driven nature, this type of customized engagement can occur. When you download Douyin, you’ll notice that it only has about half of the live-streaming content available compared to Kuaishou.

The mainstream app’s lack of feature variety makes users less likely to watch live streaming on the TikTok platform.


How does E-Commerce On TikTok & Kuaishou Work?

It’s not a secret that TikTok (Douyin) has been steadily increasing its reach into e-commerce by allowing users to create their own 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.


Clarins' flagship store on Douyin

Clarins’ flagship store on Douyin


Did you know that 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, Douyin advertising can offer a more extensive audience reach and continually increase growth.

Because of Douyin’s stable popularity, international brands around the world are keener on advertising within the app instead of choosing Kuaishou as an alternative e-commerce channel.


Redbull store on Kuaishou

Redbull’s store on Kuaishou


How to do Marketing on TikTok and 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, 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 who 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 China, marketing in Kuaishou can give you more opportunities to get viral than TikTok.



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

The social media industry undoubtedly affects the continuous growth of China’s digital ecosystem. So, companies wanting to utilize Douyin and Kuaishou to promote their brand must abide by specific regulations protecting the Chinese government’s and its citizens’ legal rights.

Here are a few points you must take note of before launching marketing and advertising campaigns on these platforms:

  • Content censorship: The Chinese government strongly influences and controls the content circulating in the country’s virtual market. Brands posting in Douyin (TikTok) and Kuaishou must comply with each platform’s content moderation systems and advertising guidelines 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 country’s authorities.
  • 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 you choose when entering the Chinese market depends on your specific business needs. For example, you should download Douyin if your focus is advertising to a large number of 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-cost products.

On the other hand, 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.


Your Trusted Short-Video Marketing Partner in the Chinese Market

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.


You may also want to read:

WeChat vs. Weixin


At Sekkei Digital Group, our team has enough industry experience and expertise to help your brand effectively utilize Douyin and Kuaishou for increased local visibility and audience reach.

From crafting compelling promotional campaigns to working with KOLs, we provide the digital solutions you need to thrive.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


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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