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Exclusive: After Vigo, another Chinese short-video app Kwai shuts ops in India

The popular Chinese video-sharing app Kwai, also known as Kuaishou, has announced via an app notification that its services will no longer be available in India. 

“We sadly announce that Kwai will no longer be operational in India. Thank all of you for constantly showering love and support for Kwai,” said the notification to its users. The app also posted the notice on its Instagram page. However, it deleted the post a while later. 

According to the notification, Kwai has asked its users to move to another subsidiary UVideo and Kwai’s Instagram account will switch to UVideo account. (refer screenshots).

Kwai

Kwai has become the second short-video Chinese app to exit India amidst deteriorating relationship between the two nations due to escalation at the border.

Only two weeks ago, Bytedance had called it a day for its short video entertainment app Vigo India. Vigo is allowing users to transfer all their videos to TikTok before October 31. 

Entrackr had exclusively reported the development on June 15.

One of the popular apps among teenagers in smaller cities and rural India, Kwai had downscaled its business and shut down its local office in early 2019. However, according to Entrackr sources, the company had set up a team in India during the second half of the last year.

Kwai, which lets users Indian users post short videos up to 15 seconds, has been blamed for pushing obscene content. It’s one of the major competition to Bytedance in China and reportedly valued anywhere between $20-25 billion.

The Beijing-based firm’s app has over 700 million users worldwide and more than 100 million downloads on Play Store. In India, the app was available in 15 languages including Marathi, Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali and Bhojpuri to focus on India’s vernacular audience.

Email queries sent to Kwai and UVideo did not elicit an immediate response. We will update the story as and when they respond.

Apart from offering enhanced features such as 4D animation, the app also rewards creators through a number of contests and campaigns.

UVideo is an app that allows users to turn their photos and videos into video status which can be used as WhatsApp status or as Facebook stories. The app has amassed over 50 million downloads on Play Store.

Ever since the announcement of a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of coronavirus, entertainment and news apps have been witnessing an upsurge in usage. While a majority of businesses have been hit massively by the pandemic and the lockdown, apps like Kwai and TikTok got room to grow further.

For instance, TikTok was the most downloaded app with the largest volume coming from India (outside China) globally. Indians contributed 20% of the total downloads, approx 22.38 million, in May. 

The actual reasons for Kwai’s decision to pull out from the country aren’t known. However, lack of monetisation and dominance of TikTok appear to be the likely logic behind the wrap-up. “Consolidating Kwai with UVideo makes absolute sense. There is no point of pushing two products in the same space. Bytedance also did the same with Vigo,” said an executive who heads India ops of one of the Chinese companies on condition of anonymity.

While the aforementioned Chinese heavyweights are busy consolidating their portfolio in India, Zee5 is set to launch a TikTok kind of feature HiPi on its native app. Unlike TikTok that allows only 15 seconds videos, HiPi will have up to 90-seconds of user-generated content with a lip-sync feature.

Last week, Entrackr had exclusively reported about HiPi.

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