chinese short video apps

TikTok is currently one of the most popular social apps globally, and it’s making plenty of waves in the music industry, from playing an early role in making ‘Old Town Road’ a hit and becoming an exciting platform for music marketing campaigns, to sparking copyright arguments with collecting societies and speculation about its licensing talks with labels.

If you need a reminder, TikTok was originally launched by Chinese technology company Bytedance, as the international version of its existing Chinese app Douyin. In late 2017, Bytedance acquired the similar (and hugely popular) app and merged it with TikTok, before throwing some serious marketing welly at TikTok to make it a global hit.

So, TikTok came from China, but it’s not alone. In fact, there are a host of ‘short-video’ apps in China that are proving popular alongside Douyin. Music Ally (us, not the app that merged with TikTok) asked Kanjian Music, our partner for the recently-launched Music Ally China, to tell us about some of those other apps. Jennifer Li from Kanjian researched 10 of the most interesting.

They might not break out globally to the same extent that TikTok has, but their features and differences to Douyin may offer some useful hints at how this app category will develop in the coming months and years around the world, not just in China.


快手 (Kuaishou)

Introduction: The predecessor of Kuaishou, called “GIF kuaishou”, was born in March 2011, originally used to make and share GIFs through an app. In November 2012, Kuaishou transformed from a pure tool application into a short-video community, a platform for users to record and share their lives.

Main features: On Kuaishou, users can create photos and short-video messages, as well as interact with fans in real time via live-streaming. Kuaishou’s content covers all aspects of life, with users all over the country.

Main differences to Douyin: The functions of the two apps are the same, but the target population is different. Douyin is more inclined to young people.

Can it use music? Yes.


火山小视频 (Huoshan)

Introduction:  Huoshan is a video-shooting application: users can quickly get content, show themselves and gain fans by recording videos for up to 15 seconds.

Main features: Users can record their lives with photos and short video, as well as interact with fans in real-time via live-streaming.

Main differences to Douyin: The app focuses on live-streaming, while Douyin focuses on creative short videos.

Can it use music? Yes.


微视 (Weishi)

Introduction:  Weishi belongs to Tencent’s family of social apps, and is a key strategic product for the company. Its slogan is ‘Interesting people in micro vision’.

Main features: This app is the first to use the function of matching lyrics and subtitles. After selecting background music, users can choose to display lyrics and subtitles when recording video, so as to sing along with them easily.

Main differences to Douyin: Users of this app can choose to record the background music of videos through the QQ Music library of tracks.

Can it use music? Yes.

Xigua Video

西瓜视频 (Xigua Video)

Introduction: Xigua Video uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to help people find their favourite videos. Video creators can use it to easily share their work with the world.

Main features: Users can find their own interests according to video categories.

Main differences to Douyin: Compared with Douyin, this app has a clear video classification, which is convenient for users to find videos corresponding to their interests.

Can it use music? No.


美拍 (MeiPai)

Introduction: MeiPai is a live-streaming video app that’s very popular with young people. After it was launched in May 2014, it was top of the App Store’s free apps chart for 24 consecutive days, and was also the top non-game download for the App Store that month.

Main features: MeiPai is mainly about beautifying videos through filters. It supports [messaging app] Weibo, although users can also share the videos on different social platforms.

Main differences to Douyin: Douyin videos tend to be more in the funny style, while MeiPai is more about the beautiful style.

Can it use music? Yes.


秒拍 (Miaopai)

Introduction: Miaopai is a short-video app that integrates shooting clips and sharing, and is also a fun short-video community for viewing.

Main features: It offers as many as 30 different music-video styles, plus there are lots of famous people using it: at any moment more than 600 celebrities will be using it to interact with fans.

Main differences to Douyin: The app uses the celebrity effect to attract users. Miaopai mainly uses the Weibo platform to share and spread videos.

Can it use music? Yes.


小咖秀 (Xiaokaxiu)

Introduction:  Xiaokaxiu is a video-shooting application: users can take advantage of the audio subtitles provided by Xiaokaxiu, including making funny singing videos. It also supports the synchronous sharing of video.

Main features: Users can directly choose the audio they like for video creation, and at the same time, it provides the subtitle function to make it easier for users to follow the rhythm.

Main differences to Douyin: For these two apps, the functions are basically similar, but Douyin has a wider range.

Can it use music? Yes.


最右 (Zuiyou)

Introduction: It’s a network-information app running on the mobile platform, but also a collection of various humorous topics. Users can browse the hottest, freshest comments on various interesting topics.

Main features: Updates on the hot topics being discussed in Chinese society, shared in real-time.

Main differences to Douyin: This app is mainly about sharing interesting content. In fact, users can share Douyin videos to Zuiyou, so the two apps work together.

Can it use music? No.


小影 (VivaVideo)

Introduction: VivaVideo is a short-video app with editing features. Users can record videos of up-to 10 seconds and clip them.

Main features: With a variety of editing modes, users can add subtitles, music, film filters and so on.

Main differences to Douyin: VivaVideo tends to be more about beautiful short films rather than funny clips.

Can it use music? Yes.


场库 (Changku)

Introduction: This app is a short-film creative tool owned by the new film-studio community in China. It’s become a platform for sharing high-quality short films at home and abroad.

Main features: It’s focused on sharing high-quality short films.

Main differences to Douyin: Changku tends to share short movies instead of short video clips.

Can it use music? No.

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