Kuaishou loses to TikTok in overseas markets

Asian Tech Press (Mar. 24) -- Chinese short video platform Kuaishou Technology seems to lose to ByteDance's TikTok in overseas markets.

Before TikTok was a big hit, Kuaishou had been a major player in China's short-form video and live streaming market. But since popping up in 2016, TikTok has quickly taken over the short-video market and expanded rapidly overseas, capturing Kuaishou's market share.

Faced with a strong rival, Kuaishou recently made organizational changes in its overseas business, upgrading its strategic priorities.

Kuaishou held an all-staff meeting last Thursday, announcing the adjustment of the organizational structure of the internationalization division and the establishment of a separate internationalization and commercialization department within it.

Qiu Guangyu, the former head of Kuaishou's internationalization division, also announced on the same day that he would leave the company in the near future due to personal reasons.

Since the internationalization division was first established in 2017, Kuaishou's overseas business has gone through many rounds of adjustments and iterations of a large number of new businesses or products, but the results seem to have fallen short of expectations.

In 2017, Kuaishou officially went overseas with the launched of Kwai, an international version of its flagship short video app, followed closely by ByteDance, which quickly released its overseas version TikTok. The two major Chinese short video platforms began to go head-to-head in overseas markets.

In the first half of 2018, Kwai once topped downloads of Google Play and App Store in Russia and seven countries in Southeast Asia.

In January of the same year, TikTok ranked first in the download chart of App Store in Thailand. By that May, TikTok managed to get the first place in App Store download rankings in Vietnam again.

However, from the second half of 2018, the gap between Kuaishou and TikTok gradually widened, and Kwai's downloads continued to fall in several countries, while that of TikTok grew sharply.

Kuaishou has disclosed specific data on overseas users only twice. According to the company's first quarter and second quarter earnings results for 2021, its overseas monthly active users (MAU) exceeded 150 million and 180 million respectively. Its old rival TikTok, however, had already officially announced in September 2020 that the number of global MAUs exceeded 1 billion.

It is evident that the data disclosed by Kuaishou not only failed to achieve the target of 250 million monthly active users set by then CEO Su Hua for 2021, but also fell far short of TikTok's over 1 billion MAUs.

The gap between the two Chinese short video giants in the overseas market has grown wider and wider, as ByteDance, which started only a few months earlier than Kuaishou, has now been sweeping the world with the phenomenal app TikTok.

From 2017 when it broke into the overseas market, to 2021 when executive personnel changes were exposed, short-video apps owner Kuaishou has still been struggling to break through.

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