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Kuaishou to disburse RMB 1 billion ‘red packets’ on world’s most-watched TV show

CCTV’s Spring Festival Gala has been a battlefield for Chinese tech companies.

Photo Source: tuchong.stock.com

Tencent-backed leading short video app Kuaishou, known as “Kwai” outside of China, has hammered out a plan for its Spring Festival campaign and the employee who leaked the plan to the media was fired by the company, Chinese news outlet Fenghuang reported on Monday.

Per a report earlier that day from local media LatePost, Kuaishou is set to dole out a record-breaking RMB 1 billion (USD 143 million) in cash via virtual “red packets” on Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV)’s 2020 Spring Festival Gala, as part of its continued efforts to achieve its goal of 300 million daily active users (DAUs).

The Beijing-headquartered company snagged an exclusive partnership with CCTV for the annual gala, also known as “Chunwan,” beating competitors such as Alibaba, Pinduoduo, and ByteDance. It will send out “red packets” or “hongbao”, a traditional gift of cash in China representing auspiciousness, as well as e-commerce coupons and goods, through interactive short-form videos on Kuaishou tailored for the coming gala, which falls during late January next year, the LatePost report added. A month-long Chinese New Year campaign, planned by Kuaishou for capturing more users, will kick off on January 1st.

Chinese Internet users will be able to access these benefits via Kuaishou’s main app, or through its lite version, and a “big screen” version app which has a Douyin-style full-screen video feed. More details about the campaign will reportedly be disclosed on December 25 at a press conference held by CCTV and Kuaishou.

The company deems the holiday campaign as a key opportunity to reach its set goal—an average DAU of 300 million three months after the Spring Festival—from the current 200 million. Meanwhile, its arch rival Douyin,  TikTok’s domestic version from ByteDance, claimed 320 million DAUs as of July, outpacing Kuaishou.

In previous years, major Chinese tech companies including Alibaba, Tencent, and Baidu teamed up with the CCTV show—which drew 1.17 billion viewers, or 84% of the nation’s total population in 2019—and leveraged its influence.

Take WeChat Pay as an example. Its spectacular rise was powered by Tencent’s partnership with the Spring Festival Gala in 2015. A simple in-app “red packet” function, which allows WeChat users to give out digital red packets in chats or gain and withdraw cash from Tencent by shaking their phones, went viral during the holidays that year. Some say that the event officially fueled WeChat Pay’s competition with Alibaba’s Alipay.

Alibaba also took its famed e-commerce platform Taobao onto CCTV’s stage in 2018. On the eve of the Lunar New Year, Taobao experienced server crashes caused by the huge traffic, which was more than 15 times that of 2017’s Double 11 shopping extravaganza.

Therefore, the upcoming 2020 Spring Festival Gala is expected to be a strong driver for Kuaishou. The firm secured USD 3 billion in its pre-IPO fundraising round, in which its long-term investor Tencent poured USD 2 billion and Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Capital also joined, KrASIA reported.

To learn more about Kuaishou, you can watch our primer here: