Why did Kwai, the rival TikTok app that gave money to users, fail?

kwai, known as Kuaishou, is the Chinese mobile-friendly application in which users can share short-form videos. The social network, which offers clip-editing features, was the giant’s main competitor TikTok until very recently. Why couldn’t she face him and failed? In this note we explain.

In 2019, it had a base of almost 200 million active users on Google Play and the App Store. Although it had other names in different countries, it stood out in much of the world, not counting the Chinese market. For this reason, it positioned itself as TikTok’s biggest competitor at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

kwai made efforts to be the leading platform for short videos in Latin America, hand in hand with the diversity of content, payments for videos, inviting friends to the platform and its verification programs. However, all the proposals were not enough for it to last as one of the strongest apps in the field and its fall was resounding.

Why did Kwai fail?

Its content recommendation system and algorithms were filled with religious, erotic, and fraudulent business videos, as well as repetitive tutorials to generate income on the platform. In addition, it incorporated a series of changes regarding user privacy that led to its being banned in several countries, most with large populations.

For example, in mid-2020, the Government of India banned the app for “data and privacy issues.” It was an accusation driven by border tensions between that country and China, with a notable political cut due to their competitive relationship in recent years.

Most decisive, however, was that TikTok immediately copied Kwai’s main appeal: paying users to create content and inviting people to use the service. In this way, together with the most pleasant and intuitive series of functionalities, the orange social network was unable to face the powerful Bytedance due to the lack of innovative proposals.