The video-sharing app Kuaishou has carved out a niche as a champion of rural influencers – a genre that has taken off over the last several years with the success of Li Ziqi.
Videos showing daily life in the countryside have won the hearts of China’s city dwellers, who marvel at the skilled farming, cooking and handicrafts of their rural counterparts.
At the First Kuaishou Sannong Conference on Wednesday, the platform further consolidated its investment with a smorgasbord of talks about rural revitalisation and the announcement of two new support plans.
These initiatives will see Kuaishou mentor 100,000 rural influencers and invest 10 million RMB in the next three years. The objective is to help at least 50% of the influencers to eventually turn a profit from content creation.
Speaking at the conference, Kuaishou’s senior leadership revealed the staggering data on rural content to date. The platform is now home to over 42 million monthly active rural users, who publish 378 million pieces of content every month. Meanwhile, the number of fans of rural content on the platform has now hit 330 million.
The success of rural content is very much in line with current government aims as “rural revitalization” has been an official strategy of Xi Jinping’s since 2017.
In fact, the conference takes its name from the Three Rural Issues (sannong wenti) outlined by Hu Jintao at the 2006 National People’s Congress. Hu was addressing the plateau in the socioeconomic situation of the farming population, which threatens the long-term political goal of “common prosperity”. The Three Rural Issues – agriculture (nongye), rural areas (nongcun), and peasants (nongmin) – are still considered relevant today.
Kuaishou has always been the video platform of choice for China’s rural population, despite the international fame of its competitor Douyin (Chinese TikTok). According to Nikkei Asia, this comes down to its incredibly user-friendly interface which lowers the barrier to entry for less tech-savvy users. “People can post videos even if they can’t write,” added Kuaishou co-founder Yang Yuanxi.
Kuaishou’s algorithm also differs substantially from Douyin’s as it intentionally steers users away from videos once they receive a certain number of hits. This results in a content ecosystem where niche players have more room to grow and difference is rewarded – a boon to China’s new rural influencers.