In the age of super short video social media, a silent war is raging between established American companies and Chinese newcomers. While TikTok e Kwai, which have been in this segment since the beginning, fight to expand their presence in the Brazilian market, the already traditional Instagram e YouTube release their own versions of short videos, Reels and Shorts, respectively.
In a fast-changing market where what matters is the user’s time and attention, being aligned with current demands and behaviors is mandatory. The decade, according to these companies, belongs to the short videos.
When it debuted on the stock exchange of Hong Kong in February of this year, the Kuaishou Technology, Kwai’s parent company that has been gaining more and more space in Brazil, raised 5.4 billion dollars and saw the price of shares more than double on the first day of operation. The increase was 161%, the second best debut performance in history, second only to the IPO of the Alibaba. With all this appreciation, the company’s will is one: to expand.
And Brazil, in this context, is a fertile ground to be explored. To start in the country in 2020, the app, which had already had a Portuguese version since 2018, replicated an aggressive way of attracting users that, in Asia, ensured with the sale of ads a global revenue of 9 billion dollars last year .
It’s been working: in Brazil, Kwai already has 30 million active users and became known as the social network that pays those who use it — is the company’s second market, behind only China, where it has 500 million users, following the local version of Tiktok.
Kuaishou’s director of international operations, Tony Qiu, is experienced in business in Brazil and directed 99 in the country after the company was acquired by Chinese giant Didi in 2018. For him, the application intends to make money in the advertising market, but also bringing a little of what is already done in China.
“The Chinese market is 1 or 2 years ahead. Not only do we have short videos, but livestreaming is very big and a form of billing. It currently compresses 50% of our sales and is still an incipient model in Brazil”, said Qiu in an interview to EXAME. The executive also refers to the strength of the known live commerce, digital retail model that takes place in live broadcasts and allows interaction, asking questions and building a relationship between influencers and buyers.
Qiu says that Kwai is not afraid of competitors and that this is a large market, which can accommodate several companies. “Short videos are a great format for bringing the real world to digital, whether through games, shopping. We believe it’s a market that can accommodate more than one player,” he said, reiterating that the trump card of companies like Kuaishou, or ByteDance, which owns TikTok, lies in a solid algorithm that creates a preview page with very content. in line with the interest of users. According to Qiu, Kwai’s algorithm is “democratic,” giving traffic to all publications and extending reach if engagement is high.
The difference from Kwai
The lure to bring in between viewers and content producers is somewhat different from what social media and streaming platforms generally do in the West. On Kwai, there is a kind of virtual wallet where you can receive ‘Kwai Golds’, which work as a payment in virtual credits as you watch a specific amount of videos, make daily logins to the app, publish an invitation for more people joining the platform, and for those who publish videos with a good audience.
In recent months, TikTok, the main competitor, has launched an aggressive strategy along the same lines, giving points and cash offers to users who invite friends to join the platform.
Putting the background of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not hard to imagine that the company’s strategy turned into a source of extra income for many people. This is the case of student Welter de Moura, who started promoting the app, and soon started producing videos for the platform. “By reaching a certain audience, you earn reasonable value. I make videos with funk steps, but I still haven’t managed to monetize them”, he says. This type of cashback, however, is questioned even by users, as there are no criteria for how the payment is calculated. An aggravating factor is that the app eventually reduces the values, showing that it is just a bait to attract new viewers.
Another attempt to gain space in Brazil was to bet on sports entertainment. The company signed sponsorships for the Brazilian Football Championship, the NBB (Novo Basquete Brasil), partnerships with clubs, and the broadcast of games by the Bandeirantes radio station. Recently, he announced the presenter Fred, from the Desimpedidos channel, on YouTube, as an ambassador for the Kwai Sport Creators Program, as well as a partnership with Panini, to distribute stickers for Brazilian albums. Qiu says it’s part of the company’s focus to help create personalities on the platform and has funds to invest in certain types of content, such as sports.
There is concern about age and inappropriate content on social media. TikTok made a worldwide effort earlier this year to delete more than seven million profiles belonging to people under the age of 13, which violates network policy. The platform has also created automation tools to combat illegal content, such as nudity, abuse, violence and other practices.
For Qiu, TikTok has a younger user base as it acquired Musically, a voiceover and dance app before taking root in the West. “We don’t have this problem, all our users are more distributed between 20 and 30 years old”, he said. The executive claims that the platform has tightened its content moderation policies and invested in a moderation team.
In the middle of MMA, Mariana Sensini, director of Kwai in Brazil, justifies that the platform’s intention is still to create a community within the app. “Today, we work with several Brazilian breeders, in all categories, to ensure that the experience is local and positive. In addition to the tipping system being implemented, we boost the content of these creators who stand out within the platform,” says Sensini.
On the next steps list, you’re differentiating yourself from TikTok with more live content. In this sense, live-commerce, which is widely used in China, will soon be on the Brazilian version of the platform. In live broadcast, the user sells services and products with the aid of tools that facilitate payment and delivery. The new feature should help increase sales in Brazil, in addition to expanding market share and deepening cooperation with national brands. Globally, this role has over 300 million active users daily.
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