Chinese short-video company Kuaishou has been on the music industry’s radar for some time now, including licensing deals with B2B firm 7digital in March 2021, and Warner Music Group in August 2021. The fact that Kuaishou’s family of apps reached the milestone of one billion monthly active users last June only increased the interest.
Kuaishou is also a public company, which means we get a quarterly insight into its growth. Its latest results, for Q4 2021 as well as the full calendar year, are worth a read. In that final quarter, the main Kuaishou app (note, not the entire family) averaged 578 million monthly active users and 323.3 million daily active users – up 21.5% and 19.2% respectively year-on-year.
Those daily active users are spending an average of 118.9 minutes a day (!) in the app, with the resulting advertising and ecommerce sales helping Kuaishou grow its revenues by 37.9% to RMB 81.1bn ($12.77bn) for 2021 as a whole. This includes a thriving business around livestreams, which generated RMB 8.8bn ($1.39bn) in the fourth quarter alone.
All good news for Kuaishou (and its music rightsholder licensors) right? Well, there are some dark clouds on the horizon.
Bloomberg noted that an initial post-financials spike in the company’s share price was quickly followed by a fall, seemingly spurred by a Wall Street Journal report on potential new regulations in China on apps like Kuaishou. Specifically, there may be daily caps on tipping, which is a huge part of those livestreaming revenues.
Like TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, Kuaishou must roll with whatever new regulations the Chinese government decides to throw at it, in a time where the authorities there have been cracking down on digital services not just on familiar censorship grounds, but also in the time (and money!) that people – particularly young people – spend in them.