Bilibili looks to overseas creators for novel content

The video platform's model of monetization, makes it difficult for overseas content creators that adapt their business models.

By SHE Xiaochen


In the past two years, overseas content creators have gained attention on the video streaming site Bilibili. Jerry Kowal, who joined Bilibili in 2017, now has over 7 million followers and is a top 100 vlogger. At the beginning of this year, Bilibili formed a team to manage overseas content creators.

Bilibili has more than 200 million monthly active users in China, but its influence abroad is insignificant. In 2018, Singapore MCN Collab Asia began to introduce overseas content creators on YouTube to Bilibili, starting with Japan and Korea. Last year, YouTuber MayTree, made it into Bilibili’s top 100.

Bilibili needs content to grow and now has 3 million creators. In 2020, the company launched its own matchmaking platform, Sparkle, to connect brands and agencies with creators.

Looking overseas means looking into an existing pool of influencers. During the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Bilibili recruited three overseas athletes through Collab Asia. Of its stable of 2,000 YouTubers, Collab Asia has introduced 100 to China. Most are focused on food or fitness.

The bigger challenge is how overseas content creators expect to earn. YouTube creators receive more than half of advertising revenue. On Bilibili, creators monetize themselves through fans and business partnerships. While distant creatives might not make content for Bilibili most would be happy to run content made for other channels, if there was an easy way to make it pay.

In Q4 last year, Bilibili’s revenue hit 5.8 billion yuan (US$900 million) but it still lost 2 billion yuan. To achieve profitability, looking overseas will soon be a necessity for Bilibili, rather than just an option.