China’s top online anime streaming site Bilibili files for $400m IPO in US

The future through Anime. Photo: Reuters TV

Bilibili, China’s top online platform for streaming Japanese animation, aims to raise $400 million in an initial public offering (IPO) in the US, the company said in the prospectus filed to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company said it plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BILI but did not disclose yet the price per share and the number of shares that will be issued.

The Shanghai-based Bilibili said it intends to use the net proceeds from the IPO for research and development, sales and marketing, and general corporate purposes and working capital, including potential strategic investments and acquisitions.

“We will continue to invest in and develop our technologies, particularly artificial intelligence technology, big data capability, and cloud technology,” Bilibili said.

The company identified its underwriters as Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase.

Bilibili started from ACG- (Anime, Comic and Games) related content and has developed into a comprehensive content platform integrating video, gaming, live broadcast, and community services. The number of active content creators in 2017 grew by 104 per cent from 2016.

In 2017, the platform had an average of 15.2 million users who participated in social interactions monthly, generating a total of 221.1 million interactions on a monthly basis, as compared to 8.4 million and 113.5 million in 2016.

The prospectus showed that Bilibili’s total revenue in 2017 was $389 million, and the annual non-GAAP net loss was $15.9 million. The 2017 and 2016 annual revenue growth rates were 372 per cent and 299 per cent, respectively.

Bilibili has invested in about 20 Japanese anime productions since 2015. Its site also shows Chinese-produced animation and hosts user-uploaded content. The company’s revenue model includes advertising and pay-per-view subscriptions.

Online entertainment is a large and fast-growing industry in China. According to an iResearch Report, China’s online entertainment industry market reached Rmb205.8 billion ($32.5 billion) in 2016 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29.6 per cent to Rmb752.7 billion ($119 billion) in 2021.

China’s online entertainment industry has been expanding rapidly to meet the increasing demand of Generation Z, the demographic cohort in China of individuals born from 1990 to 2009 for quality content, Bilibili stressed.

Such content covers a wide variety of themes, including anime and comics, game, music, fashion, lifestyle, technology, movie and television serial drama.

Driven by the increasing demand for a diverse range of entertainment content, key sectors of the online entertainment industry, including video, games and live broadcasting, have been growing exponentially, the company disclosed.

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Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.