One of the hottest photo-sharing and live video broadcasting apps of China, Kuaishou, has today announced that it has scored a hefty $350 million capital infusion led by Tencent Holdings Ltd. The fundraising round values the company at more than $2.7 billion and comes on the heels of the company’s potential IPO in the second half of the year. The transaction is expected to be made official in a couple weeks, suggests Bloomberg.
Prior to this fundraising round, Kuaishou had raised capital from marquee investors including the likes of Chinese search giant Baidu, Sequoia Capital, and DCM. But, it is still unclear whether they’ve joined Tencent in this funding round or not.
The freshly infused capital will be employed towards product R&D and improvement in user experience. Kuaishou also added that the company would now collaborate with both Tencent and Baidu in product and technology development to boost their user experience.
Further, the live streaming app is planning to infuse cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and video analytics to bolster their growth propositions in today’s crowded social ecosystem. And it plans on taking further assistance from the tech giants to push it to the frontlines in the Chinese (or even the Southeast Asian) region.
Commenting on the investment, Tencent in a statement to TechNode said,
Kuaishou has brings people closer with their focus on the recording and sharing everyday lives. It’s a product that’sclose to users for its warmth and vigor.
We believe by pooling together the two companies’ unique user insights, technological capabilities, and operational expertise, we will work closely with Kuaishou to capture the exciting business opportunities as demand for video content continue to grow rapidly.
Founded back in 2011, Kuaishou is a China-based photo-sharing and live broadcasting social media platform operating along the same lines as Instagram, Periscope or even Snapchat. It banks on the photo and video craze among the Chinese populace and provides them with an avenue to record and post short — filtered and edited — video clips or live stream even their daily mundane activities.
In the early days, the photo-sharing app was referred to as the Jackass of China for being flooded with videos of individuals performing stunts and other dangerous physical activities. The said phase has since passed and a majority of the video clips/live streams on the app now caters to the rural communities and migrant workers. You can now witness the daily life of a Chinese farmer or factory parks and sensitive content is now filtered aggressively.
Kuaishou has amassed more than 400 millions users worldwide and currently witnesses more than 5 million video uploads per day. It has surpassed the 50 million daily active users milestone, with over 100 million monthly active users on the app. It competes against a similar app called Miaopai, which is also based out of Beijing. It recently picked up $500 million from the likes of Sina’s Twitter-clone Weibo and Shanghai Media Group.
To cater to the global audience, the company has also launched a new overseas version of the app called Kwai. It is not restricting itself to the Chinese market but plans to cater to a wider demographic, which could prove quite difficult. The international market is flooded with widely popular players like Snapchat or Instagram, who both have over 150 million daily active users. Kuaishou will also face rival the musical.ly, a music-focused video-sharing app popular among millennials.
However, Tencent isn’t the only Chinese technology giant currently placing aggressive focus on video and live streaming content. Its counterpart or fierce rival Alibaba is also pushing to acquire a chunk of market share in the entertainment and technology industry. It recently acquired online ticket booking platform Damai.cn for an undisclosed amount.