How to utilize Chinese short video platforms for brand promotion

short video platforms

Do you want to expand your brand’s reach in China but don’t know where to start? Look no further than China’s short video platforms. With a user base of over 820 million, these platforms offer an opportunity for brands to connect with younger audiences and improve their social media presence in the Chinese market. Not only that but the short video market is predicted to reach 211 billion RMB in the near future, making it a valuable tool for brand promotion.

In this blog post, we will explore how to utilize China’s short video platforms for effective brand promotion and provide tips on creating a successful video marketing strategy. Let’s dive in!

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Overview Of Chinese Short Video Platforms

There are many new short video platforms and all the other social media also start to rely heavily on short video content, but when it comes to the definite leaders of the market, Douyin and Kuaishou are two main players in the Chinese market. In this blog post, we will focus on these two Chinese video platforms, but you can be sure that all the others will have similar features and characteristics.

Douyin: The Chinese Tik Tok

Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok and it’s actually the mother version of the app, yet completely different than the one known in the West.

Douyin allows users to create, edit, and share captivating short videos with special effects and audio elements that capture their audience’s attention. The platform has its own unique content tailored specifically for the Chinese market, setting it apart from Western social media apps like TikTok.

This localization makes Douyin particularly appealing to millions of people across China who are looking for authentic experiences on the app. For example, fashion influencers on Douyin showcase local trends instead of international styles found elsewhere online.

Douyin overview

As of 2023, Douyin boasts an audience of more than 700 million monthly active users in China, making it the most popular short video platform and one of the key social media platforms in the Chinese market. Thanks to its innovative features, it leaves competitors like Kuaishou, Tencent Video, Bilibili, Youku, and IQIYI far behind in terms of videos.

Kuaishou: China’s Lower-tier Cities Go-to Platform

Kuaishou is the second-biggest short video platform in China that has gained massive popularity among users in lower-tier cities and smaller towns. As a brand looking to target this specific segment of the Chinese market, it’s crucial to understand the unique appeal of Kuaishou.

Unlike its rival Douyin, which caters more to urbanites and younger audiences, Kuaishou focuses on providing authentic, user-generated content that resonates with people living outside Tier 1 cities.

By tapping into Kuaishou’s vast user base – which includes millions of consumers from Northern China, rural areas, and lower-tier cities – your brand can effectively engage with an underserved yet highly loyal demographic group.

Douyin vs. Kuaishou: What Are The Main Differences?

As two of China’s most popular short video platforms, Douyin and Kuaishou have their unique features. Let’s take a look at some core differences above;


As I mentioned earlier, China’s short video platforms have a significant number of young users. In fact, 85% of Douyin (TikTok) users are aged between 15-25 years old. Kuaishou is no different, with the majority of users being under 30 years old.

The main difference in terms of demographics between those two platforms lies in the target audience. While Douyin has over half of its users residing in first- and second-tier markets, Kuaishou is more popular in lower-tier cities.

Kuaishou's user base

Content And Focus Points

In terms of content creation, Kuaishou fosters interaction between users and is more focused on daily content while Douyin relies heavily on an algorithmic recommendation system to bring more public traffic to creators’ videos.

Therefore, we can say that Kuaishou is more relationship-based and it shows mostly content from friends or people that you follow. On the contrary, Douyin is algorithm-based and more than 90% of the displayed content will be new to the audience. It will be even more visible in the near future, as Douyin is going more into the e-commerce direction.

Engagement Rates

Both Douyin and Kuaishou boast impressive figures when it comes to user engagement, with Douyin boasting an average session time of 52 minutes per day from its users.

Additionally, Douyin’s algorithm is designed to keep users engaged by showing them content that matches their interests, increasing the likelihood of them staying on the platform for longer periods.

Meanwhile, Kuaishou has a reputation for providing lower-tier cities’ citizens with a sense of community through content that portrays real-life experiences and interactions. Thanks to focus on closer relations, Kuaishou has a higher engagement rate (around 5%) in comparison to 2% of Douyin’s.

This focus on authentic connections between creators and audience members results in high levels of comments and shares for popular videos on the platform, indicating significant engagement amongst its user base.

Michael Kors campaign on Douyin

E-commerce Features

One of the unique features of China’s short video platforms is their advanced e-commerce integration. This allows brands to sell products directly through their official accounts on platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou, making it an enticing option for businesses aiming to expand in the Chinese market.

Douyin is becoming a serious player on the e-commerce market, making it a perfect platform for luxury brands targeting consumers from first and second-tier cities. It has more advanced features and is becoming one of the biggest social e-commerce platforms, comparable to WeChat.

Li Ning flagship store on Douyin

Kuaishou, on the other hand, has higher engagement rates and is more advanced when it comes to live-streaming. It’s a great platform to target Internet users from lower-tier cities, so it will all depends on the products you are selling and digital marketing strategies implemented.

Live-streaming Functions

One of the most significant trends in China’s short video platforms is live-streaming. Live streaming functions have become an essential tool for brands to engage with their target audience and boost sales performance. Live streaming features allow brands to showcase product demonstrations, Q&A sessions, and other interactive experiences that can help build trust with customers.

When it comes to this feature, Kuaishou is a definite winner, almost doubling the amount of live streams and content creators offering live streaming in comparison to Douyin.

Steps To Utilize China’s Short Video Platforms For Brand Promotion

The steps to effectively utilize China’s short video platforms for brand promotion include defining your target audience, developing a content strategy that resonates with them, setting up and optimizing your official account, creating high-quality video content that showcases your products, leveraging influencers or KOLs to promote your brand and utilizing paid advertising; read on for further insights.

Define The Target Audience For Short-video Platforms In China

Chinese consumers have unique characteristics compared to those in Western countries. They are heavily influenced by social media and rely on recommendations from their peers when making purchase decisions.

For example, older adults (the silver generation) comprise a new market for short video apps in China. They enjoy watching videos that share knowledge or tips about topics such as cooking, gardening, or health maintenance.

Similarly, targeting lower-tier cities’ residents requires specific strategies as they have distinct consumer behaviors compared with urban areas’ consumers.

Develop A Content Strategy That Aligns With The Target Audience’s Preferences

Start by identifying your ideal customer and understanding what type of content resonates with them.

For instance, if you are targeting younger audiences on Douyin (Tik Tok), your videos should be visually appealing, upbeat, and feature popular music tracks. On Kuaishou, which has a greater reach in lower-tier cities where users are more interested in traditional values such as family and culture compared to urbanites who prefer pop-culture trends.

sexual health brand in china case study

Set up And Optimize Your Official Account

As part of the steps to utilize China’s short video platforms for brand promotion, setting up and optimizing your official account is essential. This will allow you to gain more visibility on the social metwork and interact with potential customers or engage in influencer collaboration.

To set up an official account on Douyin or Kuaishou, you will need a Chinese business license or the help of a third-party service provider.

You also need to post content regularly, be responsive, and engage with followers through comments and messages actively. By doing so, you can build trust with potential customers and showcase industry knowledge while increasing customer loyalty.

Brands can use features such as paid advertising campaigns, live streaming promotions on their official accounts which can drive traffic toward purchase pages linking to Taobao (China’s popular online shopping site).

Douyin e-commerce; business accounts

Create High-quality Video Content That Showcases The Brand And Its Products

The right kind of content can attract your target audience, increase engagement rates, and ultimately drive sales. To create effective videos for these platforms, it’s essential to understand what resonates with Chinese viewers.

Making the best impression on Chinese viewers and building a loyal following on these platforms requires adapting to local tastes and customs while staying true to your brand identity.

Examples include using culturally appropriate themes in your videos or incorporating subtle references to traditional holidays celebrated by the Chinese people.

Leverage Influencers Or Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) To Promote The Brand And Its Products

One of the most effective ways to promote your brand on China’s online video platforms is by leveraging influencers or key opinion leaders (KOLs). KOL marketing, also known as influencer marketing, has become a popular soft-selling strategy in China.

To successfully leverage KOLs for brand promotion, it is crucial to identify ones that align with your brand values and resonate with your target audience. Consider partnering with KOLs who have expertise in your industry or product niche and are available on different platforms, attracting different Internet users in China.

For example, if you sell skincare products, partnering with a beauty vlogger could be an excellent fit. Additionally, focus on working with KOLs who engage in live streaming and social commerce activities since these are increasingly popular ways that Chinese consumers shop online.

douyin marketing KOl

Utilize Paid Advertising To Increase Brand Exposure And Drive Sales

By leveraging the massive data from ByteDance, Douyin Ads can help brands reach their accurate target customers in China.

Many brands have successfully used Douyin marketing to increase web traffic, consumer engagement, and brand awareness.

According to important facts about Chinese SMEs, they largely rely on ecommerce platforms, social media, and advertising to increase online customer traffic. As such, utilizing paid advertising on China’s short video platforms presents a significant opportunity for businesses looking to expand their presence in this growing market.

Keep The Videos Short And Visually Appealing

Short videos are popular in China due to their fast-paced lifestyle, and therefore, it is important to capture the audience’s attention quickly.

One way to do this would be through user-generated content (UGC). This form of content allows customers or fans of the brand to create their own videos showcasing how much they love or use the products.

When using UGC, it’s essential to keep in mind that quality should not be compromised as users will expect only high-quality graphics and sound for any video they choose to watch.

Engage With The Audience By Responding To Comments And Messages

One of the best practices for utilizing these platforms for brand promotion is to respond promptly and meaningfully to comments and messages from your viewers. This helps foster a relationship with your audience, build trust, and increase engagement rates.

For example, if someone leaves a comment asking about the product featured in your video or how to purchase it, responding quickly and helpfully can turn that viewer into a potential customer.

Additionally, by engaging with viewers in this way, you also get insights into what they like/dislike about your content or brand which can help tailor future strategies towards them specifically.

We Can Help You Craft The Best Digital Marketing Strategy!

In conclusion, utilizing China’s short video platforms for brand promotion can be a game-changer in reaching a large audience and improving your social media presence. By following the steps and best practices outlined above, your brand can successfully tap into this growing trend in Chinese marketing.

We are a China-based marketing agency focused on digital marketing and e-commerce solutions for Western brands interested in entering the Chinese market. Our team of Chinese and foreign experts has the know how needed to succeed and attract the Chinese audience.

We offer cost-effective solutions depending on your target audience, goals, needs and budget. Don’t hesitate to leave us a comment or contact us, so that we can schedule a call with one of our experts, that will learn about your brand and explain the next steps of your China journey. Let’s get started!

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