Bilibili Starts to Explore Southeast Asian Market

Wang Zhikai, the former general manager of Bilibili‘s livestreaming center, has been transferred to the firm’s “Star” department, reporting directly to CEO Rui Chen, LatePost reported on November 30. Throughout the past two years, the Star department has promoted the Chinese video sharing website to be launched successively in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.

In 2022, Bilibili started recruiting in Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Bilibili has used the same strategy to carry out overseas expansion as it did in China: users are attracted by “animation, comics, and games” (ACG), and thus a video community of young people can be formed. By the end of 2020, Bilibili was launched in Thailand and Malaysia, enabling users to watch free popular animation without advertising.

Bilibili chose Southeast Asia as its first foreign destination due to users loving ACG in the region and a lack of video sharing platforms. The director of the Star department in Southeast Asia directly reports to the company’s CEO, Chen Rui, which reflects the importance of the Southeast Asian market.

A source from Bilibili revealed that in the past two years, although the company has achieved its growth target in the overseas market, it has largely relied on copyrighted content. For example, when Bilibili was launched in Thailand, it introduced Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Attack on Titan, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Tokyo Ghoul and other popular anime content in Japan.

But Bilibili did not have strong financial resources to support its continued investment in copyright, while Southeast Asia already has its competitors such as Netflix, Viu and Tencent‘s WeTV.

In contrast, the more urgent task for Bilibili is to establish its user-generated content (UGC) and creator ecosystem, including attracting local uploaders. The creation threshold of long videos is naturally higher than that of short videos, so it is more difficult to attract uploaders. In 2021, UGC’s operating business performance in the Star department was at its lowest level.

Wang Zhikai’s transfer might be intended to solve this problem. Wang used to work at Tencent, where he was responsible for esports and group chats. In 2020, he joined Bilibili to take charge of livestreaming, based on his skills in dealing with creators and MCN institutions.

SEE ALSO: Bilibili CEO Chen Rui Takes Over Games Business

As a company listed on both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq, Bilibili reported 5.79 billion yuan in revenue for the third quarter of this year, up 11% year-on-year. Its net loss was 1.7 billion yuan, compared with 2.7 billion yuan for the same period in 2021. As for the previously proposed goal of “achieving non-GAAP break-even by 2024,” Chen Rui said that it will not change. “Under multiple challenges this year, loss reduction has become one of the most important jobs of the company, which is also what I personally focus on,” says Chen.