Throughfall kinetic energy (TKE) plays an important role in soil erosion in forests. We studied TKE as a function of biodiversity, functional diversity as well as structural stand variables in a secondary subtropical broad-leaved forest in the Gutianshan National Nature Reserve (GNNR) in south-east China, a biodiversity hotspot in the northern hemisphere with more than 250 woody species present. Using a mixed model approach we could identify significant effects of all these variables on TKE: TKE increased with rarefied tree species richness and decreased with increasing proportion of needle-leaved species and increasing leaf area index (LAI). Furthermore, for average rainfall amounts TKE was decreasing with tree canopy height whereas for high rainfall amounts this was not the case. The spatial pattern of throughfall was stable across several rain events. The temporal variation of TKE decreased with rainfall intensity and increased with tree diversity. Our results show that more diverse forest stands over the season have to cope with higher cumulative raindrop energy than less diverse stands. However, the kinetic energy (KE) of one single raindrop is less predictable in diverse stands since the variability in KE is higher. This paper is the first to contribute to the understanding of the ecosystem function of soil erosion prevention in diverse subtropical forests.