Livestreaming Unit of Chinese Video Platform Bilibili to Start Layoffs, Source Says

Chinese media outlet Xinshang reported Monday that it has learned from an anonymous source that Shanghai-based video platform Bilibili‘s livestreaming business unit is planning internal layoffs, with a list of employees to cut having been preliminarily drawn up. After ongoing pandemic-related lockdowns in Shanghai are eased, the company will reportedly schedule relevant meetings.

Regarding the news, Bilibili responded that its livestreaming business is in good condition, with gross profit having improved for three consecutive years. It will be one of the most important sectors for Bilibili in the future, the firm assured, and it is actively recruiting related talent.

According to Xinshang, the reason for layoffs may be an imbalance between the firm’s livestreaming unit and a group of agencies. The company’s livestreaming arm allows these agencies to use unlimited rebates that are higher than the industry standard, resulting in the ecological imbalance of its live-streaming business.

For example, the anonymous source said that when an agency added 100 yuan on Bilibili, and the platform would take 40 yuan and refund the agency 60 yuan. Now, Bilibili will refund the agency between 20 and 40 yuan. In extreme cases last year, the platform even refunded 108 or 109 yuan, just to attract the agencies to add money and generate higher traffic. In this regard, Bilibili did not respond as of Monday morning.

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According to the agency policy for Bilibili in 2022, new livestreamers who register on the platform after January 1, 2022 will enjoy 70% of the non-responsible reward sharing for three months, and can also get 20% of the reward sharing for completing tasks on the basis of 50% after three months. If the new livestreamers under the agency perform well, Bilibili will give them corresponding basic base pay support and traffic support.

However, at a 2021 financial report meeting, CEO Chen Rui made it clear that Bilibili should enter the stage of reducing costs and increasing efficiency. “We will reduce the money that should not be spent, and raise the efficiency of the money that should be spent,” said Chen. The rumored layoffs in the firm’s livestreaming business unit may be the first step toward reaching the goal.