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Kuaishou Technology headquarters in Beijing. Photo by Bloomberg.

Why China Embraced the Creator Economy Before the West Did

By  |  March 4, 2021 9:00 AM PST
Photo: Kuaishou Technology headquarters in Beijing. Photo by Bloomberg.

Executives at Facebook, Twitter and Snap recently realized that if they don’t help the people who produce videos and other content for their apps make money, these creators will take their talents, fans and potential revenue streams somewhere else.

In China, mobile video apps figured that out six years ago. That’s when Kuaishou, which started as an app for teenagers uploading 8-second videos to share with friends, overhauled its product so the teens could also stream themselves live and be paid directly by their fans via tips. That move propelled Kuaishou (pronounced “kwai-show”) to a public market capitalization of $170 billion after an initial public offering in Hong Kong last month. Hurst Lin, a venture capitalist who sits on Kuaishou’s board and whose firm’s early $40 million investment in the company is now worth around $15 billion, told The Information in an extended interview that Kuaishou’s move to tipping wouldn’t have happened if not for a desire for “revenge” against a rival.

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