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‘China’s YouTube” BiliBili challenges AV’s big three

(ATF) In China’s online audio-visual market iQiyi, Tencent, and Youku firmly occupy the lion’s share of the market. This is due to their backing by the three major internet giants. 

But new startups are threatening their dominance like a thorn in the lion’s paw. While there may be few gaps in the domestic audio-visual market for newcomers to exploit, the rapid development of streaming and the continuous expansion of user groups dedicated to the so-called 2D sector, new dark horses have emerged on the horizon. 

These sites have bypassed the big three platforms to win 170 million users, Chinese research Digital Spy China reports. 

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The newest contender is Bilibili (known as Station B), which has been dubbed China’s YouTube.

Station B’s second-quarter financial report showed it had attracted net revenue of 2.6 billion yuan ($374 million), an increase of 70% year-on-year. The average number of monthly active users reached 171.6 million, up 55%, mobile monthly active users climbed 59% to 152.9 million and daily active users surged 52% to 50.5 million. 

Market value

Bilibili’s market value is similarly rising, with its stock price climbing to $47.39 at the close on August 28.

From little-known to now well-known, how did Station B do it?

Station A was the original pretender, but because it often experienced server downtime and other problems that made users “crazy”, Bilibili took advantage and launched a similar channel but with less glitches. To get shed any association with its troubled rival, Station B constantly adjusts its platform, accumulates users, and deploys diversified content to attract user groups among younger generations.

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Station B was initially limited to the dissemination and creation of animation and two-dimensional elements. Later, it successfully connected upload hosts with audiences to form a high-quality content ecosystem. Station B does not directly use advertising and because of this it allows users to express their content directly, which greatly improves the user experience.

Relying on high-quality content, timely responses to users and a richer customer experience, Studio B stands out from the crowd of video platforms. 

Additionally, compared with Youku, iQiyi, and Tencent, Station B users are more like “sticky rice”, meaning they are more loyal. If users want to send bulletin screens, leave messages, and other functions they must become members. To become a member, you need to complete a hundred-question test.

Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.


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