Kuaishou (Chinese: 快手) is a Chinese video sharing app, developed by Beijing Kuaishou Technology Co., Ltd. In addition to China, it has also gained considerable popularity in other markets: it has topped the Google Play and Apple App Store “most downloaded” lists in eight countries outside of China. It is often referred to as “Kwai” in overseas markets.

Kuaishou’s predecessor, “GIF Kuaishou”, was founded in March 2011. GIF Kuaishou was a mobile application created to make and share GIF pictures. In November 2012, Kuaishou transformed into a short video community, and a platform for users to record and share videos depicting their everyday lives. By 2013, the app had already reached 100 million daily users. By 2019, that figure had surpassed 200 million active daily users.

Kuaishou has a particularly strong user base among users outside of China’s tier 1 cities.

In March 2017, Kuaishou closed a US$350 million investment round led by Tencent. In January 2018, Forbes estimated the company’s valuation to be approximately US$18 billion.

Kuaishou was founded by Su Hua and Cheng Yixiao. Prior to co-founding Kuaishou, Su Hua had worked for both Google and Baidu as an engineer. The company is headquartered in Haidian District, Beijing, China.

Kuaishou’s main competitor is Douyin, which is known as TikTok outside of China.

TikTok was the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018, the first Chinese app to achieve this. As of 2018, it is available in over 150 markets and in 75 languages. In February 2019, TikTok, together with Douyin, hit one billion downloads globally, excluding Android installs in China. In 2019, TikTok was declared the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019.

ByteDance had previously launched Douyin (抖音) for the China market in September 2016. TikTok and Douyin are similar to each other, but they run on separate servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions. The application allows users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds.

On September 3, 2019, TikTok and the NFL announced a multi-year partnership. The partnership includes the launch of an official NFL account that will bring NFL content to fans all over the world.

The TikTok mobile app allows users to create a short video of themselves which often feature music in the background, can be sped up, slowed down or edited with a filter. To create a music video with the app, users can choose background music from a wide variety of music genres, edit with a filter and record a 15-second video with speed adjustments before uploading it to share with others on TikTok or other social platforms. They can also film short lip-sync videos to popular songs.

The app allows users to set their accounts as “private.” Private content remains visible to TikTok, but is blocked from TikTok users who the account holder has not authorized to view their content.

The “for you” page on TikTok is a feed of videos that are recommended to users based on their activity on the app.

Users can also add videos, hashtags, filters, and sounds to their “saved” section. This section is visible only to the user on their profile allowing them to refer back to any video, hashtag, filter, or sound they’ve previously saved.

There are a variety of trends within TikTok, including memes, lip-synced songs, and comedy videos. Duets, a feature that allows users to add their own video to an existing video with the original content’s audio, have sparked most of these trends.

Similar to other platforms, journalists in several countries have raised privacy concerns about the app, because it is popular with children and has the potential to be utilized by sexual predators.

In January 2020, Check Point Research discovered a security flaw in TikTok which could have allowed hackers access to user accounts using SMS.

In January 2019, an investigation by the American think tank Peterson Institute for International Economics described TikTok as a “Huawei-sized problem” that posed a national security threat to the West, noting the app’s popularity with Western users.

On 27 February 2019, the United States Federal Trade Commission fined ByteDance US $5.7 million for collecting information from minors under the age of 13 in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Edited by staff


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