Beijing-based Kuaishou, a short video slash live streaming lifestyle app, is looking at a new financing round targeting at about USD 1 billion as the company is said to be fueling its tank to expand into Southeast Asia, as reported by Bloomberg.
The company’s last round of USD 350 million was led by Tencent yesteryear with participation of incumbent backers including Baidu, Sequoia, and DCM.
Kuaishou, or literally “Fast Hand”, was founded by ex-Googler SU Hua. The popular live streaming app attracts over 100 million daily active users who spent at least one hour on average on the app. Most of the users live in the countryside or lower-tier cities.
The app attracted an influx of early viewers thanks to its library of unusual and jaw-dropping videos, such as people eating all sorts of strange things, or someone finishing up a bottle of Chinese Baijiu in 15 secs. It then pivoted to feature the daily life stories of the rank and files in China through live broadcasting.
Upon launching the app now, you’ll see live video content like people slurping soup while watching TV at home, or a group of friends performing street-wandering.
Interestingly, Kuaishou, in last March, was rumored to go public before last year’s Series D, though the company later denied so. Bloomberg, in its recent piece of Kuaishou financing, also implied that the recent financing “comes ahead of a potential initial public offering.”
It appears that Kuaisou is looking to get listed before some of its well-funded archrivals in an uphill battle.
The live streaming arena is fiercely competed. Players in the field include Kuaishou, backed by Tencent, Miaopai, invested by Alibaba-affiliated Weibo, as well as Xigua Video, backed by ByteDance Inc, parent of hit app Today’s Headlines. All are burning heavily on marketing expenditures to lure away users from each other.
For instance, Xigua and Kuaishou are recently engaged in a combat as both had launched live-streaming quiz shows that give out cash prizes in an effort to glue audience.
In those shows, all participants are entitled to a total amount of up to RMB 100 million (approx. USD 155K) cash prize while winners who stick to the end of the game – usually lasts for one hour – and answer all questions correctly would split that amount.
Since its inception, such live quiz shows have become a big draw among Chinese netizens.
Having earlier access to public market would certainly help to beef up one’s arsenal, sustaining their money-splashing practice to compete for users at home market. In addition, companies will be able to venture into less competed markets outside of China, taking India and Indonesia in Southeast Asia for instance.
A Kuaishou spokesperson declined to comment on the recent financing round and potential public offering, and said its service targets at users worldwide, with no specific market preference.