• Social networking video app Kwai has found a large following among China's countryside users.

Social networking video app Kwai has found a large following among China's countryside users. (Photo : YouTube Screenshot)

China's tech-frenzied populace enjoys a lot of social networking amenities provided by innovative tech companies--think of the likes of Weibo and WeChat as among the frontrunners. But one app, Kwai, stands out for its massive popularity--400 million users, but mostly from the Chinese countryside.

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Kwai, short for Kuaishou, is a social networking app that uses video streaming as its medium. While the app's functionalities provide it with the potential to become popular in China's big-city settings, a large majority of its users come from the country's less-affluent and unsophisticated countryside.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Kwai's popularity in the Chinese countryside contrasts that of its presence in China's urban cores such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen--places where tech innovators call the shots on the latest trends the entire country should pay attention to

Obviously, Kwai, with its arsenal of videos showing the weird and wonderful of Chinese rural settings, is not one of those trends that had a breakout release in any of China's largest cities. CEO Su Hua attributes the app's success to his background as a poor student from the mountains of Hunan Province.

Su, a former programmer for Google and Baidu who climbed his way to the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing, designed Kwai's algorithm based on users' preferences, allowing it to become especially entertaining among countryside users who find the app more accommodating than its counterparts.

That somewhat explains why Kwai is the darling of Chinese countryside users, whose use of the Internet to connect with their big-city relatives have failed to get them into the latest urban happenings. Plus, its profit-generating virtual gifting system motivates them to create more unique content.

Yet, as Kwai looks to expand in terms of its user base and market valuation, the company itself quashed claims that it is looking to furnish an initial public offering (IPO) anytime soon, citing the need to introduce more improvements to user experience, China Daily reported.

Moreover, with forthcoming regulatory changes on live streaming--the registration of real names, filtering of inappropriate content, and blacklisting of erring users being among them--Kwai is finding itself in an increasingly difficult position for expansion.