Bilibili’s New Documentary Reveals China’s Lesser-Known Wild Side

Chinese video streaming platform Bilibili, best known for its animation and games content popular among Chinese post-millennials, has released the first episode of The Hidden Kingdoms of China last week.

The Hidden Kingdom of China is Bilibili’s wildlife documentary series produced in partnership with National Geographic. According to the company, the show goes from the highest mountains and plateaus to the thickest tropical jungles and bamboo forests to reveal the secret lives of iconic animals. Many of these animals are China’s important cultural symbols: giant panda, Tibetan fox, snow leopard, and golden snub-nosed monkey.

Through National Geographic, the show will be available in 172 countries and 43 languages.

“When Bei Bei, the beloved US-born giant panda, departed from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo to move back to his new home in China on November 19, many people expressed their sadness and desire to see more pandas. There is a shared global interest in these charismatic bears,” said Leo Zhang, the head of Bilibili’s intellectual property cooperation center.

“Now is the perfect time to release the documentary. The first episode showed the intimate depictions of pandas in their native habitat.”

mother panda and her cub (source: Bilibili)

Five days after releasing the first episode of the show in China, Bilibili has already recorded 4.3 million views and 30,000 “bullet chats” – Bilibili’s signature real-time audience feedback overlaying on-screen content.

The Hidden Kingdoms of China was produced by Brian Leith Productions for National Geographic and Bilibili in cooperation with the China Wildlife Conservation Association. The five-episode show will be released in weekly installments on Bilibili starting in November 2019.

The show is one among many business deals that Bilibili has had with top-tier international TV channels, including the UK and Japan’s public broadcasters, the BBC and NHK. The Chinese company also has a six-year corporate relationship with Discovery, and a China special of the First Man Out survival series – First Man Out of China – is expected to go on the Discovery channel in 2020.