Photo: Kwai/Courtesy

TikTok's rival, Chinese Kwai invests to go 'viral' in Latin America

With 60 million active users in the region, Kwai arrived in Brazil two years ago, and has just announced its localized operations in two new markets: Mexico and Colombia

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TikTok‘s competitor, the short-form video social network Kwai is targeting creators in Latin America to boost its growth and tackle western competitors such as Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. The app developed by the Chinese company Kuaishou has more than 300 million users worldwide – 60 million active users in LatAm. 

In Brazil alone, where the platform has been operating for almost two years, Kwai registered an average of 26 million monthly active users in the first quarter of 2021. The app is investing in an institutional campaign in Brazil and announced its arrival in Mexico and Colombia to displace TikTok. 

But it’s no easy task. According to Sensor Tower‘s data, Tiktok was the most downloaded app in the world in March, May, June, July, August, September, October, and December 2020, besides February and March 2021 (where it had more than 58 million downloads). Yet, Kwai has been craving for its place in the sun. Worldwide, users spent on average 86 minutes a day in the app, currently available on iOS and Android systems. 

READ ALSO: Competitor of TikTok, Kwai exceeds 12 million daily active users in Brazil

Photo: Kwai/Courtesy

It’s been two months since Kuaishou became a publicly listed company in Hong Kong, with a $159 million valuation. With the IPO, the company has raised $5.4 billion, proceeds that are funding its entry into Mexico and further expansion in the region.

Addressing the same region, but focusing on each country in Latin America

“Our expansion in the region comes after having a great reception in Brazil, a country in which, after almost two years of operations, we have positioned ourselves as the most downloaded app on Google Play Store. In this sense, Latin America is a very important market, with enormous potential for the short video industry. We are very optimistic that its great cultural richness and recognized creativity will converge very well with our philosophy of inclusion and diversity,” commented Arturo Martinez, general manager in Latin America for Kwai.

READ ALSO: Kwai, TikTok competitor’s short video app, opens office in Brazil

According to Martinez, more than a social network, Kwai is an entertainment platform with content creators of all kinds, not only influencers already known on other platforms. He says that the idea of Kwai is to help content creators to develop themselves.

According to Aurora Morales, Kwai’s marketing manager for Latin America, when a company decides to operate in a new region, it usually does so on a copy-and-paste basis. But in Kwai’s case, with content creation as its primary focus, the company now acknowledged that it was better to start with a localized strategy since the beginning. For her, the key to success in Latin America is to treat each market as a different market: it’s the same region, but each country has its own specificities. 

To LABS, Martinez said that the Mexican staff is working closely with the Brazilian one and that the company has seen that having two local teams is crucial. “We want the version of Kwai that we have in Mexico to be different from Brazil‘s and Colombia‘s. We are looking for micro-ecosystems. We are not one social network, but many social networks within an ecosystem.” There is a local team in Colombia too. 

READ ALSO: Tencent-backed Kuaishou more than doubles in Hong Kong debut after $5.4 billion IPO

Photo: Kwai/Courtesy

“These teams already develop several marketing actions, content creation, and operation. Here, in Brazil, our last two hires were for the Communication and Content teams. We will have physical offices in these countries, but due to the pandemic, everyone is working remotely,” Mariana Sensini, Kwai’s country manager in Brazil, told LABS.  

Kwai says its app has a first-of-its-kind algorithm that does not discriminate profiles and is designed to provide fair participation to each user within the platform. “We seek that our app is positioned as a social tool in which all people can express themselves authentically, be heard and seen regardless of social, economic, or cultural differences or origins,” added Martinez.

Kwai allows its users to monetize videos via its referral program, under which users can invite friends and acquaintances to download and use the application using a personal code issued by the app.

The company expects to launch its e-commerce, live streaming, and gifting functionalities soon. They are already available in other regions and allow additional monetization models. In China, for instance, Kwai is the fourth largest e-commerce platform.

READ ALSO: Tecent’s Kuaishou files for IPO that could raise as much as $5 billion

Mariana Sensini, Kwai’s country manager in Brazil. Photo: Kwai/Courtesy

Kwai’s first campaign focused “to conquer Brazil for good”  

Launched in Brazil at the end of 2018, Kwai has achieved that its users and content creators quickly adopt the functionalities offered by the platform. This Friday, the firm launches its first institutional campaign in Brazil with the goal of “conquering the local market for good.” 

The brand positioning campaign KKKKwai – Baixe o lado divertido da vida (in allusion to the way Brazilians laugh on the internet, as KKKK equals LOL in English) encourages users to share funny and straightforward moments of everyday life.  “Our goal is to create our own community of content creators, with people who reassemble Kwai. For this, we have established a close relationship with some users of the platform and worked with several Brazilian creators, in all categories, to ensure that the experience is local and positive,” said Morales. 

READ ALSO: TikTok considers introducing group chat feature this year

Photo: Kwai/Courtesy

Two Brazilian creators were specially invited to star in the campaign: 21-year-old JP Venancios, who has already amassed more than 2.4 million followers on Kwai and, 23-year-old Tailane Garcia, who has more than 1.4 million followers on the app. 

The first Kwai campaign in Brazil will run on OTA (over-the-air television) and cable TV. 

The company does not disclose the amount invested in this campaign.

Kwai also closed a recent partnership with Novo Basquete Brasil (Brazilian premier professional men’s basketball league) to broadcast the basketball dunk tournament in the Jogo das Estrelas (The Brazilian version of a Star’s Game). “We have also partnered with Flamengo to create exclusive content on the platform. Other sports institutions, linked to soccer, are also in our pipeline for projects that should happen throughout the year.”