Bilibili monthly users grow to 202m ahead of second IPO

Bilibili, a popular video platform among China’s Gen-Z, has released its financial report for Q4 2020. It saw its monthly active users (MAUs) grow 55% year-on-year to 202 million, of which mobile users expanded 61% to 186.5 million and paying users grew 103% to 17.9 million. Bilibili brought in a total net revenue of 3,840 million RMB ($588.5 million), a 91% increase from Q4 2019.

“With a series of high-quality content and branding efforts, we continue to influence China’s young generations on an increasing scale while gaining wider recognition among mass audiences. Video has become more and more integrated in various facets of everyday life, prompting massive growth in the video-based market. 

Rui Chen, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bilibili

The platform’s expansion is symbolic of the massive growth in the short-video industry more generally as this form of media has come to dominate social media in China. Bilibili was formed as a platform for Anime, Comic & Games (ACG) but has since expanded its variety of content to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Unlike Kuaishou and Douyin, the platform is known for its longer-form video content and is often termed China’s YouTube. It is known for its ‘bullet curtain’ which shows users’ comments as a stream of scrolling subtitles overlaid on the video. The company is thought to be currently developing its own payment system.

Bilibili went public in 2018 and is planning to raise US$3 billion for a second IPO in Hong Kong soon. This would follow rival Kuaishou’s recent groundbreaking IPO which saw the platform valued at $160 billion, becoming the biggest IPO in the tech industry since Uber in 2019.

Bilibili faced controversy recently due to the streaming of the Japanese show Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation which was criticised for content insulting women and “soft pornography”. The video was later removed from the platform but several domestic companies, including beauty brands Ukiss, Spenny and Lin Qingxuan, had already pulled advertising in the meantime.

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