China has a very diversified ecosystem when it comes to online video platforms. No single service comes close to attaining a majority market share comparable to Netflix’s 87 percent in the US. China’s ‘big three’ internet companies – Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent – have the biggest market share with their Chinese streaming platforms iQiyi, Youku and Tencent Video.
In 2022, China’s online video market is estimated to value 174.4 RMB, which is 20 percent more than last year. Online videos present a huge opportunity for international businesses planning to enter China and start selling their products or services.
In recent years, short videos, led by Douyin and Kuaishou, have impacted the top Chinese streaming services. However, the demand for long videos hasn’t declined significantly. Chinese users continue to consume long form videos for educational and informational content.
Chinese Streaming Platforms At A Glance
China’s video streaming platforms quickly grew in popularity and by 2020, together they had a market size of about 927 million users. In 2022, this market is estimated to generate a revenue of 100 billion RBM (15.6 billion USD).
The video sites in China can be broadly classified into streaming platforms or short-form video platforms.
- Tencent Video – Largest online video platform in China that provides online Video-on-Demand services and television broadcasts.
- iQiyi – Owned by Chinese tech giant Baidu and provides high quality original content, user generated content, live-sports, and fully-licensed media.
- Youku – A video hosting service owned by Alibaba that focuses on long form videos.
- Bilibili – A short video platform that is heavily dominated by UGC. One of the fastest growing platforms in China.
- Douyin – Also known as Chinese TikTok, it’s the most popular short video platform in China owned by Bytedance.
- Kuaishou – Second largest short video platform in China with prominence in lower-tier cities.
- Mango TV – Video platform with copyright to HBS TV programs that has now built a reputation for its own series and shows.
- Xigua – Also known as Toutiao video, Xigua is a Chinese online video-sharing platform owned by ByteDance.
Top 7 Chinese Video Streaming Platforms For Your Business
1. Tencent Video
Tencent Video has 129 million people paying for a Tencent Video subscription. It’s the 4th largest streaming service in the world, after Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.
Also known as QQ Video, Tencent Video is just like YouTube and allows users to download and watch a variety of content including TV shows, news, and movies. Tencent also produces and promotes its own content. WeChat Official Accounts are able to embed Tencent videos in their articles.
- In March 2022, Tencent Video had over 1.268 billion mobile monthly active users, and 123 million VIP subscribers.
- In April 2022, Disney China announced that Disney Film and Television Club will be launched on Tencent Video, providing Disney’s movies, children’s animation series and documentaries.
Founded in Beijing in 2010 by Baidu, iQiyi is one of the largest online video platforms in the world with over 100 million subscribers. The membership services revenue was RMB4.5 billion (US$705.4 million) in 2022, with an increase of 4% from last year.
The platform provides over 30 different types of content that include not just film and TV. Sports, news, and games are the top categories for video content on iQiyi beyond film and television. It’s an ad supported platform, providing a great opportunity for digital marketing in China.
- In 2021, the video app of iQiyi reached an average of 86 million daily active users.
- Nearly 6 billion hours are spent on its service each month and it has over 500 million monthly active users.
Once a market leader, Youku has lost its dominance as the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) market is getting more crowded. It is als0 overshadowed by Tencent and Baidu’s transition to premium content. However, it still remains one of the most popular and widespread video streaming platforms in China. Businesses should take the platform into account when planning their marketing strategy.
Alibaba’s Youku is also commonly known as the Chinese equivalent of YouTube. It recorded a monthly traffic of around 128 million unique visits in 2022.
The model of Youku is that it pays for and produces content and earns money through a monthly subscription service. It’s a great platform for foreign companies to promote their brand from a mass-market perspective.
- The platform recorded 71.5M visits in April 2022.
- In June 2020, the platform saw a gradual decrease in its monthly active users to 381 million from 500 million at the beginning of 2020.
Bilibili is a short-video platform well known for its role as a central hub for China’s ACG (anime, comics, and games) subculture. The platform is also known for its special live comment feature (Danmu or bullet comments) that allows viewers to see user comments that appear during the video.
It’s a great platform for brands that seek to reach young and hip audiences as 86% of Bilibili users are below 35 years old. The community’s virality factor is what makes Bilibili stand out and succeed in the China market. It has built an engaged and connected community through restricting membership to only the most passionate and kindred users.
- In the last quarter of 2021, Bilibili reached 271.7 million average monthly active users out of which approximately 24.5 million were paying users. Among the monthly active users, 252.4 million use the mobile platform.
- Total net revenues from Bilibili were RMB19.4 billion (US$3.0 billion) in 2021, which was up by 62% from 2020.
- In Aug 2021, Bilibili surpassed 65 million daily active users, outperforming Youku to become China’s third-largest long-form video platform after iQiyi and Tencent Video.
Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin is one of the most trending viral short-video platforms in China. It’s also an effective marketing platform for foreign businesses.
The platform is owned by Bytedance and was launched in 2016. It grew quickly in popularity and the number of users increased by 200% in only 2 years. In 2022, the platform had 800 million users. The platform relies heavily on user-generated content.
It offers a variety of advertising options to brands and the users on Douyin are open to the idea of making purchases through the platforms (based on advertisements, video and livestream content by brands and suggestions from KOLs).
- Douyin’s user base in the Chinese market is projected to surpass 835 million by 2025.
- The average time spent per user on the app is 45 minutes per day.
Kuaishou started as a GIF making app in 2012 and has now grown into a short video site with live streaming features. It’s the second largest short video app in China. Similar to Douyin, the platform allows users to share quick, 15-second clips of their everyday lives with their friends and other users on the platform.
The platform has also attracted multi-million dollar investments from giants such as Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba which signals that it has a huge potential to grow.
It has grown in popularity by taking a different approach and targeting the less developed areas across China.
Businesses that plan to capitalize the users from lower-tier cities, small towns and lesser known provinces of China should consider using this platform for marketing. The E-Commerce market in these segments is expected to grow in the coming years, making the opportunity size even bigger for businesses targeting these users.
- The time spent on Kuaishou platform by daily active users increased 25.2% year over year (YoY) to 106.9 minutes per day in Q2 2021.
- The platform has over 820 monthly active users.
- The platform is well-integrated with Ecommerce platforms.
7. Mango TV
Even though it started as a platform to host HBS (China’s second-largest TV network – Hunan Broadcasting System) programs, Mango has built an independent reputation for creating a live stream of its own dramas and reality shows. It still continues to provide all the content that is presented in TV channels, and also the copyright works from Hunan Broadcasting System and Hunan Satellite TV.
- The platform has 130 million monthly active users and 18 million paid subscribers.
- In 2020, Mango TV released a talent show – The Sisters Who Make Waves – that became an internet sensation and generated over 5 billion views.
8. Xigua Video
Xigua video is China’s rising video live-streaming and video-sharing platform. It’s trying to carve a niche in streaming professionally made long videos. The platform does not support any video editing features. The content on the platform is a mix of user-generated content, movie streaming, and original productions.
Owned by Bytedance, the platform benefits from its advanced algorithm. It’s able to attract a large number of viewers and keep them engaged.
- In June 2020, the platform had 131 million monthly active users.
- In Oct 2020, the platform announced that it would invest at least RMB 2 billion to incentivize creators of “middle-form” videos. The platform shares a percentage of the advertising revenue to its creators.
How To Market Your Brand Using Chinese Video Streaming Services?
1. Run Targeted Advertisements
Some platforms like Douyin, Tencent Video and Xigua Video provide the opportunity to brands to run very targeted video advertisements to grow their business in China. However, it can be extremely challenging for international marketers to advertise on these platforms, due to language and regulatory barriers.
AdChina.io platform can help your businesses to build an engaged audience through video ad campaigns and achieve your marketing goals in China. You can also promote your products and drive conversions.
2. Created Engaging Branded Content
When it comes to marketing in China, ‘content is the king’. You can create engaging content that shares the practical value of a product or brand. Try to incorporate the trends that matter to your target customers in order to catch their attention. Instead of promoting your product, try to tell a story around it and weave the product placement seamlessly into it. The most important element of marketing is word-out-mouth which happens automatically when you create shareable content.
The content you create also helps users connect with your brand and build a relationship through interactions. You can create content to communicate important information such as special deals, new product launches and address the common questions about your product.
3. KOL Marketing Campaigns
KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are Chinese influencers that are popular on platforms such as Douyin. Working with them to promote your content can help you get a very high engagement and conversion rate. Some businesses allow KOLs to ‘takeover’ their accounts to talk about their products. Users enjoy interacting with the celebrities and build trust in your brand when a public figure recommends them.
Ready To Use Chinese Streaming Platforms To Grow Your Business?
If you find this information helpful and intriguing and want to start advertising or creating content on Chinese video sites, contact us. Or sign up for your free AdChina.io account, and start exploring our campaign management, advertising and reporting dashboard.