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Global Competition Between ByteDance and Kuaishou: Who Will Prevail?
COVID-19 and China
Unsplash/Kon Karampelas

►A resounding success in international layout for ByteDance has exerted pressure on Kuaishou.
►Finding a way to transfer the large traffic into profit will be the priority in future moves for Kuaishou

Last week, Zynn, a new short video platform, topped the list of most-downloaded apps in the iOS Appstore.

Against the backdrop of the stellar debut of Kuaishou’s Zynn, we can see the war with ByteDance, the developer of TikTok, intensifying.

Kuaishou is now focusing on cashback benefits, which are given to every new user via a USD 20 welcome bonus. There is also an extra bonus for referrals. However, such a cash burning strategy in the quest for traffic doesn’t always look like a clever strategy. 

Why is Kuaishou so anxious?

ByteDance, its largest competitor, started an aggressive overseas expansion in 2017. By the end of that year, the company had spent USD 1 billion to acquire the music video platform Musical.ly. Several months later, the company started transferring users from Musical.ly to its own platform, TikTok.

In that crucial year, ByteDance developed a matrix of products, including Hypstar and TikTok. Besides, the company completed other acquisitions: a short video platform, Flipagram, and the mobile news provider News Republic.

After this sequence of moves in the US market, ByteDance went on to launch several video products. The company has continued to show a vibrant, exploratory profile. 

In order to serve the local market better, ByteDance appointed the former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as the new CEO for TikTok in June 2020. 

The success of ByteDance has exerted pressure on Kuaishou.

At the same time, Kuaishou has been struggling through an internal reorganization and teething problems within its teams. In 2017, the company went on an extensive campaign to penetrate overseas markets, focusing on Russia, Thailand, and Indonesia; things didn’t go as expected. Russia, the first layout for this exploration, saw the brand win the market by handing out cash bonuses, then falling silent after the benefit ended. 

This strategy has been done to death in the Chinese market, and is now being copied in other markets. Also, confronting the problem of how to transfer large traffic figures into profit, Kuaishou has already failed once at the task. Not failing a second time will be the next priority in its to-do list. 

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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