Why Kuaishou wants to pivot away from the celebrity influencers who made it famous

By Iris DengTracy Qu

The ByteDance rival has relied heavily on exclusive clans of video streamers to drive traffic. Experts say grooming smaller individual streamers is essential to diversifying Kuaishou’s reach. — SCMP

Online celebrities come in many forms, but for Kuaishou – the video livestreaming company debuting on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Friday – its earliest success can be traced to a unique breed of Internet stars: tight-knit clans of powerful streamers with outsized influence. But while the model once allowed these streamers to thrive on Kuaishou, there are signs that their popularity is waning.

Jiazu, a Chinese term meaning family or clan, is a distinctive culture that sets Kuaishou apart from rival Douyin, operated by TikTok owner ByteDance. Like masters of Chinese martial arts, top influencers – or key opinion leaders (KOLs) – often support smaller streamers as “apprentices” by introducing them to a wider audience. Aspiring content creators can get a huge lift in views just by banking on the popularity of their masters.

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