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TikTok And Kuai Shou: A Tale Of Two Short-Video Sharing Apps From China To The Globe
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Individual Essay Assessment topic

  • Use one of the six cases uploaded in the section of group and individual assessments. You can use the same case for both your group and individual assessments.

  • After selecting this case, you need to figure out one or two key challenges that the firm in your selected case faced in its internationalisation journey. You can use 500 words at most to describe the firm and key challenges.

  • Then you need to come up with solutions to address those challenges.

  • You MUST incorporate corporate social responsibility (CSR) when you present the solutions.

Six cases

  • JTD Group in Africa

  • City Developments Limited's Internationalization: Chinese Property Troubles Hit the Third Generation

  • TikTok and Kuaishou: A Tale of Two Short-Video Sharing Apps from China to the Globe

  • Dropbox: A Digital Firm's Journey Abroad

  • Amazon Goes Global 2020

  • Ace Micromatic Group: Competing in the Dragon's Den

TikTok And Kuai Shou: A Tale Of Two Short-Video Sharing Apps From China To The Globe

Abstract

TikTok and Kuaishou are two of the most popular short-video-sharing apps from China, with millions of users globally. However, these apps have faced significant challenges in their efforts to expand and maintain their user base. One of the key challenges is content moderation, which has led to regulatory scrutiny and potential bans in certain countries. Additionally, there is growing competition from other short-video-sharing apps seeking to capture market share.

To address these challenges, TikTok and Kuaishou must prioritize transparency and collaboration with governments to address regulatory concerns. They must also invest in developing and strengthening content moderation policies and practices to ensure the safety and well-being of their users. In addition, they can diversify their revenue streams and monetization opportunities to remain competitive in the face of increasing competition.

Moreover, integrating CSR into their solutions is essential to demonstrate a commitment to ethical and responsible practices. TikTok and Kuaishou can invest in initiatives to support privacy and security, collaborate with stakeholders to address social and ethical concerns, promote diversity and inclusion in their monetization strategies, and prioritize sustainability and social responsibility in their business practices.

By adopting these solutions, TikTok and Kuaishou can overcome their key challenges and continue to grow their user base and business, while contributing to a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Introduction 

TikTok and Kuaishou are two of the most popular short-video-sharing apps from China that have gained global recognition in recent years. TikTok, owned by Byte Dance, was launched in “2016” and has quickly become one of the most downloaded apps worldwide, with over “1 billion” active users across “150 markets” (Mhalla et al. 2020). Kuaishou, on the other hand, was founded in “2011” and has over “300 million” active users (Mhalla et al. 2020). Both apps offer similar features, allowing users to create and share short videos with a range of editing tools and filters. However, they differ in terms of their user base and content.

TikTok is more popular among younger audiences while Kuaishou has a more diverse user base (Veloso et al. 2022). Despite their similarities, the two apps have taken different approaches to international expansion, with TikTok focusing on Western markets and Kuaishou targeting Southeast Asia and South America (Veloso et al. 2022).

Nevertheless, both apps continue to grow in popularity and are transforming the way to consume and create content on social media. This essay will further discuss the key problems faced by these firms and various theories to analyze and offer a probable solution to the current challenges.  
Body

Key Challenges faced by TikTok and Kuai Shou

TikTok and Kuaishou are two of the most successful short-video sharing apps from China that have gained global popularity in recent years. However, like any rapidly growing technology company, both apps face several key problems and challenges that must be addressed in order to continue their growth and success.

One of the biggest challenges faced by both TikTok and Kuaishou is the ongoing scrutiny from governments around the world, particularly in Western countries, regarding the security of user data and potential ties to the Chinese government (Zhang et al. 2019). Both apps have been accused of collecting and sharing user data with Chinese authorities, leading to bans or potential bans in countries such as India, the United States, and Australia (Mhalla et al. 2020). These accusations have also led to a decline in user trust, particularly among Western audiences.

Another challenge faced by TikTok and Kuaishou is the increasing competition from other short-video sharing apps, particularly from Instagram's Reels and YouTube Shorts (Zhang et al. 2019). Both of these apps have already attracted large user bases and have significant resources to continue innovating and improving their platforms, making it difficult for TikTok and Kuaishou to maintain their market share and user engagement (Veloso et al. 2022).

In addition to competition, both apps face challenges related to content moderation and regulation. TikTok, in particular, has been criticized for allowing harmful and inappropriate content on its platform, including hate speech and child endangerment (Chen et al. 2021). The company has made efforts to improve its content moderation policies and practices, but these efforts have been met with mixed success.

Overall, the challenges faced by TikTok and Kuaishou globally require a nuanced and strategic approach to overcome. These companies must prioritize content moderation, navigate complex regulatory frameworks, and innovate to differentiate themselves from competitors (Zhang et al. 2019). Furthermore, both apps face challenges related to monetization and revenue generation.

While TikTok has already introduced advertising and e-commerce features, Kuaishou has been slower to monetize its platform, relying primarily on user donations and live-streaming revenue (Yang et al. 2021). Both companies will need to continue innovating and finding new ways to generate revenue in order to sustain their growth and profitability.

Finally, both TikTok and Kuaishou face challenges related to expanding into new markets and diversifying their user base (Mhalla et al. 2020). While both apps have found significant success in their respective regions, they will need to continue adapting and tailoring their platforms to appeal to new audiences and cultures. This includes addressing language barriers, cultural differences, and regulatory challenges in each new market.

Therefore it can be derived from the analysis that TikTok and Kuaishou have faced and will continue to face several key challenges as they strive to maintain their success and expand into new markets. These challenges include government scrutiny, competition from other short-video sharing apps, content moderation and regulation, monetization and revenue generation, and expanding into new markets (Yang et al. 2021). Overcoming these challenges will require a combination of innovation, adaptation, and continued investment in user trust and engagement.

Key Thoughts on Selected Theories for TikTok and Kuaishou Challenges 

TikTok and Kuaishou, have faced significant challenges in their efforts to expand globally. One of the key problems is the issue of content moderation, which has raised concerns about the spread of harmful or inappropriate content on the platforms (Wu  et al. 2022). This has resulted in regulatory scrutiny and potential bans in certain countries, such as India and the United States. Another challenge is the need to adapt to different cultural and legal environments in different countries (Yang et al. 2021).

TikTok and Kuaishou have faced criticism for content that is seen as insensitive or offensive in certain markets, and have had to navigate complex regulatory frameworks to comply with local laws and regulations. In addition, there is growing competition from other short-video sharing apps, such as Instagram's Reels and YouTube Shorts, which are seeking to capture a share of the market (Pun and Fung, 2023). This has put pressure on TikTok and Kuaishou to innovate and differentiate themselves to remain competitive.

The resource-based view (RBV) theory, institutional theory, agency theory, and transaction cost theory are all relevant in analyzing the challenges faced by TikTok and Kuaishou, two short-video sharing apps from China.

Resource-Based Theory

The RBV theory suggests that a company's resources and capabilities are key drivers of its competitive advantage (Li, 2022). In the case of TikTok and Kuaishou, their massive user bases and advanced video editing tools can be considered as valuable resources that give them a competitive edge over their rivals. In the case of TikTok and Kuaishou, their key resources include their user base, algorithms, and data analytics capabilities (Wei and Wang, 2022).

Moreover, these resources can also be a liability if they are not properly managed, as seen in the case of the ongoing scrutiny over user data privacy and potential ties to the Chinese government (Li, 2022). However, as they face challenges related to government scrutiny, content moderation, and monetization, they will need to continually invest in their resources and capabilities to maintain their competitive advantage.

The Institutional Theory 

The institutional theory argues that companies must conform to societal norms and expectations to achieve legitimacy and gain access to valuable resources (Jian, 2022). The institutional theory suggests that companies must conform to established norms and practices in order to be accepted and succeed within their industry (Li et al. 2021).

The business of TikTok and Kuaishou, they must navigate the cultural and regulatory differences in each new market they enter, including language barriers, local laws and regulations, and societal expectations around appropriate content and behavior (Jian, 2022).

In the case of TikTok and Kuaishou, their association with the Chinese government has led to suspicion and scrutiny from Western countries, which has threatened their legitimacy and access to Western markets. To address this,  the firms will need to adopt more transparent and responsible policies and practices that align with the expectations of Western consumers and regulators.

The Agency Theory

The agency theory suggests that conflicts of interest can arise between a company's managers and its shareholders, leading to a potential misalignment of incentives (Barrot, 2021). This can manifest in the way that TikTok and Kuaishou manage their content moderation policies, as they seek to balance the interests of their users, advertisers, and regulators (Barrot, 2021).

In the case of TikTok and Kuaishou, the managers must act in the best interests of the shareholders while also addressing the concerns of other stakeholders, such as users and regulators (Mu et al. 2022). This can be challenging, as the interests of these stakeholders may not always align.

To address this, they will need to balance the interests of all parties and prioritize long-term sustainability over short-term gains. For example, both apps have been criticized for allowing harmful content on their platforms, while also facing pressure from governments to more strictly regulate user behavior. 

The Transaction Cost Theory

The transaction cost theory suggests that companies must minimize the costs associated with transactions, such as contracting, monitoring, and enforcing agreements, to maximize their efficiency and profitability (Feihan et al. 2021). In the case of TikTok and Kuaishou, their efforts to expand into new markets and diversify their user base will require them to incur significant transaction costs, such as adapting their platforms to local languages and cultures and complying with local regulations (Li. and Kang, 2022.).

TikTok and Kuaishou, they must balance the costs of internalizing content moderation and data management functions with the potential risks and costs of outsourcing these functions to third-party vendors or government regulators. To minimize these costs, they will need to carefully consider their expansion strategies and invest in building strong local partnerships and networks (Feihan et al. 2021). 

Therefore, the resource-based view theory, institutional theory, agency theory, and transaction cost theory all provide useful frameworks for understanding the challenges faced by TikTok and Kuaishou as they navigate the social media industry.

These challenges include managing unique resources and capabilities, conforming to established norms and practices, balancing conflicting interests, and minimizing transaction costs (Wu et at. 2022). As the industry continues to evolve, these companies will need to adapt and innovate in order to remain competitive and successful.

Solutions To Address the Problems Faced by TikTok and Kuaishou

Solution 1: Address Government Scrutiny and Security Concerns through Transparency and Collaboration

One of the relevant and effective solutions to address the government scrutiny and security concerns faced by TikTok and Kuaishou is to prioritize transparency and collaboration with governments and regulatory bodies (Li et al. 2021). By being transparent about their data policies and practices, and actively collaborating with governments to address concerns, the apps can build trust and legitimacy with regulators and users. 

To integrate CSR as a solution to mitigate challenges, TikTok and Kuaishou can invest in privacy and security initiatives, such as hiring data privacy experts and establishing independent auditing systems to ensure compliance with data protection regulations (Zhang et al. 2022).

They can also prioritize transparency in their data policies by making them easily accessible and understandable to users, and by regularly publishing transparency reports detailing their data handling practices. This will not only build trust with regulators and users but also demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices.

Another way to integrate CSR into this solution is to work collaboratively with governments and other stakeholders to address concerns (Pun. and Fung, 2023). TikTok and Kuaishou can engage with regulators to understand their concerns and develop strategies to address them.

They can also work with non-governmental organizations and civil society groups to understand and address social and ethical concerns related to their operations. This collaboration will help build stronger relationships with stakeholders and demonstrate a commitment to responsible practices.

Solution 2: Address Content Moderation Challenges through Stronger Policies and Practices

Another logical solution to address content moderation challenges is to strengthen the policies and practices related to moderating harmful and inappropriate content (Han, 2021). TikTok and Kuaishou can invest in advanced AI and machine learning technologies to improve their content moderation processes and reduce the risk of harmful content being published on their platforms (Lai, 2022).

TikTok and Kuaishou can integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) and collaborate with experts and organizations to develop best practices and guidelines for content moderation, particularly for issues such as hate speech and child endangerment (Mhalla et al. 2020).

They can also invest in initiatives to educate and empower users to report inappropriate content, and to provide support and resources for those affected by harmful content. This will demonstrate a commitment to ethical practices and social responsibility.

TikTok and Kuaishou can invest in initiatives to educate and empower users to report inappropriate content. They can also provide support and resources for those affected by harmful content, such as mental health resources and counseling services (Zhang et al. 2019).

This will demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of users and a commitment to society making them socially responsible.

Solution 3: Diversify Revenue Streams and Monetization Opportunities

A third effective solution to address the monetization and revenue generation challenges faced by TikTok and Kuaishou is to diversify their revenue streams and monetization opportunities (Chan et al. 2022). This could include exploring new advertising and e-commerce models, as well as monetizing user-generated content and live-streaming in more innovative ways (Wu et al. 2022).

As a step towards their CSR, TikTok, and Kuaishou can prioritize social responsibility and sustainability in their monetization strategies (Wu et al. 2022). They can invest in initiatives to support and promote small businesses and entrepreneurs, particularly those in underserved communities, and to promote sustainable and ethical practices in their e-commerce and advertising platforms (Pun, and Fung, 2023).

They can also allocate a portion of their revenue to support charitable and social initiatives in the communities they operate in, such as environmental protection and education programs (Gong et al. 2022). For example, they can prioritize partnerships with suppliers who meet environmental and ethical standards.

Another way to integrate CSR into this solution is to promote diversity and inclusion in their monetization strategies. TikTok and Kuaishou can prioritize partnerships with creators from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities (Li et al. 2021).

They can also invest in initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in their user base, such as initiatives to support LGBTQ+ and minority-owned businesses. This will demonstrate a commitment to diversity and social responsibility.

Integrating CSR into these solutions is essential to demonstrate a commitment to ethical and responsible practices (Twining-Ward et al. 2022). TikTok and Kuaishou can invest in initiatives to support privacy and security, collaborate with stakeholders to address social and ethical concerns, promote diversity and inclusion in their monetization strategies, and prioritize sustainability and social responsibility in their business practices (Wu et al. 2022).

These actions will not only help build trust and legitimacy with users, regulators, and other stakeholders but also contribute to a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Conclusion 

Thus it can be concluded that the challenges faced by TikTok and Kuaishou are complex and multifaceted, and require innovative solutions that integrate CSR. The resource-based view theory, institutional theory, agency theory, and transaction cost theory provide useful frameworks for understanding these challenges and developing effective solutions.

Through a range of solutions, such as prioritizing transparency and collaboration with governments, strengthening content moderation policies and practices, and diversifying revenue streams and monetization opportunities, TikTok and Kuaishou can overcome their key challenges and continue to grow their user base and business.

As the short-video-sharing app industry continues to evolve, it will be important for companies like TikTok and Kuaishou to remain agile and responsive to changing user needs and market trends. By prioritizing CSR in their business strategies, these apps can position themselves as industry leaders in promoting ethical and responsible practices and contributing to a more sustainable and equitable future.

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