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The Chinese language streaming and cellular gaming firm publishes rap movies with quarterly outcomes

Visitors visit the Bilibili video platform during the China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference (ChinaJoy) 2020 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center on July 31, 2020 in Shanghai, China.

Zhou you | Visual China Group | Getty Images

BEIJING – Bilibili, one of the most popular video and gaming apps among China's youth, has decided to illustrate its quarterly earnings report on Thursday in a more unconventional way with the release of a rap music video.

The company, listed on Nasdaq, is one of the fastest growing apps in China. According to the earnings report, Bilibili shares rose more than 6% in expanded trading on Thursday.

With a plush white TV cartoon "Head" – in the style of the American DJ Marshmello – the main actor dances to the beat of a Mandarin rap over a futuristic, space station-like capsule that advertises Bilibili's success.

The video refers to a strategic partnership with BBC Studios and also shows internal content with the English slogan "Made by Bilibili".

One scene shows the main character as the anchor on a television news broadcast.

Headings appear at the bottom of the screen with the following labels:

According to (Bilibili) third quarter earnings release, our MAUs (Average Monthly Active Users) grew 54% year over year. In August, our MAUs topped 200 million, setting a new monthly record. The average daily video views in the third quarter hit a record high of 1.3 billion. The average daily time was up to 81 minutes.

The video ends in just over two minutes. In the end, four dancers join the lead actor.

The final headline reads, "All the videos you are interested in are on the B-Station," according to a CNBC translation of the Chinese text, which is a slang term for Bilibili's platform.

Bilibilis US listed stocks rise

The Tencent-backed video streaming platform is growing in popularity this year in an industry crowded with players like iQiyi and ByteDance's Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin.

According to analysts, innovative content is part of the reason Bilibili attracts younger viewers. This summer, the company's reality TV show "Rap for Youth" received a rating of 9.2 out of 10 stars from 62,900 reviewers on Douban, a culture-focused Chinese social media platform.

In contrast, rival iQiyi's "Rap of China," which aired around the same time, received a rating of 4.5 from just over 14,400 reviewers on Douban – lower than the previous season when 34,000 reviewers had a rating of 5.3 received.

Bilibili's quarterly earnings video had roughly 11,000 views on the company's primary app early Thursday afternoon, about five hours after it was released.

The company generates well over a third of its sales with mobile games. Total net sales for the third quarter rose 74% year over year to 3.23 billion yuan (approximately $ 490 million), according to a press release. The company expects net sales of 3.6 to 3.7 billion yuan for the fourth quarter, an increase of at least 79% over the same period last year.

Tencent companies held 13.3% of the company, while Alibaba subsidiary Taobao China held 7.2% according to Bilibili's 2019 annual report.

Monetization Challenges

Converting user growth into revenue remains a challenge for video streaming companies. Many people in China are still not used to paying for content, while companies often have to invest heavily in creating content that is interesting enough to attract and retain users.

In the three months ended September 30, both Bilibili and iQiyi reported net losses attributable to shareholders of more than 1 billion yuan.

According to Bilibili, the average monthly paying users increased 89% year over year to 15 million in the third quarter, which is less than 8% of the monthly active users of 197.2 million.

Much larger video streaming platform iQiyi – owned by Baidu – announced earlier this week that subscribers had dropped slightly to 104.8 million as of September 30, from 105.8 million a year ago. Total sales decreased 3% to 7.2 billion yuan.

IQiyi said it would focus more on monetizing big companies related to screens as the total time users spent on TV recently exceeded that on mobile. The company did not provide any information about the time or the point in time when the milestone was exceeded.

The iQiyi, listed on the Nasdaq, has so far held on to a plus of around 7%, after having risen by more than 40% in the past year.

In contrast, Bilibili shares are up more than 150% since the start of the year. Both companies have a market capitalization of around $ 16.6 billion.

In the meantime, Bilibili wants to raise more capital. Amid ongoing US-China tensions, the Chinese company is preparing for a secondary listing in Hong Kong that could raise up to $ 1.5 billion, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC in October. The listing is expected to take place next year.

– CNBC's Arjun Kharpal contributed to this report.

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