April 13, 2021

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Billiards on the way to Netflix

The name is quite cute, ‘Bilibili’. The name has now become synonymous with entertainment in China. In the meantime, it is gradually crossing one milestone after another in terms of users and revenue. Bilibili, which has earned the nickname YouTube on Xi Jinping’s country, is now on its way to becoming Netflix.

Billiards started a bit like Facebook. It started in 2009 as a website for posting cartoons. At that time, a university student named Shu Ee was the main entrepreneur. His goal was to create a platform to share pictures of the genre among a few well-known cartoonists. Then its scope gradually increases. With that, its popularity continues to grow. Initially it gained popularity among animation lovers. Later new benefits were added to it. Especially as a video sharing platform, various features of popular YouTube are being added to Bilibili. Since then, Bilibili has become popular as ‘China’s YouTube’. The reason for so much talk about Bilibili is that it has recently been listed on the secondary market of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Bilibili could earn ২ 2.6 billion from it. This news has caught the attention of various international media outlets. It is known that Bilibili is planning to become Netflix in China after YouTube.

Billiards allows users to publish their own content. However, it does not show ads on that content like YouTube. As a result, a user can show their own videos without any ad break. China’s YouTube business style is a bit different. Instead of user-generated content, ads are advertised on other products, earning less than one-fifth of the company’s revenue. With this, Bilibili has created a ‘loyal’ user group. Games and virtual gifts are later sold to them. Apart from this, these users are also attracted to buy original and licensed content. Bilibili has started this business of original content like Netflix since 2016. Revenue from games, gifts and original content was 3.9 percent in 2016, which is 6 percent in 2020. Last year alone, Bilibili earned 1.6 billion dollars. And its original content has 1 crore 45 lakh subscribers.

In addition to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, New York and Nasdaq capital markets are also included in the billiards. Capital is constantly rising. Big companies like Tencent and Alibaba have bought its shares. One of the strengths of this Chinese organization is the age of its consumer class. Eighty-five percent of its users are 35 years of age or younger. And that’s why Hollywood stars like Dwayne Johnson have recently opened accounts in Bilibili in a hurry. Because, who does not want to retain popularity among young people!

However, like Netflix, Chinese YouTube has never expressed its desire to establish an empire around the world. The organization wants to intoxicate the young generation of China. But the way it is going, who can guarantee that Bilibili will never enter the world market!

Sources: The Economist, Nikkei Asia, South China Morning Post, CNBC and Variety

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