In China, short video apps are not just meant to be a pointless pastime. These services are becoming online bazaars where users can examine products, see how they’re grown and made, and ask questions to sellers during live sessions.
Kuaishou, the main competitor to the Chinese version of TikTok (Douyin), announced it had received 500 million e-commerce orders in August. This is a strong sign of the app̵
Following the announcement, Reuters reported that Kuaishou, a Tencent-backed company behind TikTok clone Zynn, plans to raise up to $ 5 billion from an IPO in Hong Kong as early as January. The company declined to comment, but a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed the details with TechCrunch.
Claiming “500 million orders” is complicated. Canceled orders or refunds are not excluded, and Kuaishou does not disclose the actual sales. The company also said it was China’s fourth largest e-commerce company after Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo.
It is difficult to verify the claim as there are no comparable numbers from these companies over the period, but let’s work with the data available. Pinduoduo previously announced it had over 7 billion orders in the first six months of 2019. This means that an average of 1.16 billion orders were placed per month, which more than doubled Kuaishou’s volume.
However, Kuaishou’s figure shows that many users bought through the video platform, or at least considered buying it.
Known for its celebration of indigenous and even mundane user content, the app has a maximum of 300 million active users per day, which suggests that its users, on average, have placed at least one order during the month. Many of the products sold were grown by large numbers of rural users. The app gained ground early on in small towns and regions far away, precisely because its content algorithms were not intended to favor the “glamorous”.
As time went on, the pace picked up among Chinese city dwellers, who enjoyed the candid filming of others about country life and happily ordered their farm produce. The focus on bringing rural products to urban areas also goes well with China’s drive to revitalize the rural economy, and it is not uncommon for Kuaishou to use terms such as “poverty alleviation” in his social media campaign.
Leveraging on sophisticated videos from “influencers,” Douyin also enables its content creators to make money – both by sharing ad revenue and selling products. With a DAU double that of Kuaishou at 600 million, the app promises to bring developers 80 billion yuan ($ 11.8 billion) in income for the coming year, ByteDance China chief executive said , Kelly Zhang, at the recent Douyin Developer Conference.