China Live Streaming: Why Picking Winners and Losers is Very Important

June 8, 2020

Live streaming was a staple source of entertainment for people in China during the 1Q20 lockdown. The industry saw traffic spike significantly during the quarter, however, this growth was not equivalently shared among the key players. We highlight the winners and losers below.

Loser: MOMO losing to competitors, saw a fall in MAU and revenue despite industry growth

Momo saw a fall of 32.4% QoQ in revenue to RMB2.3 billion, significantly underperforming its peers, alongside a decrease of 6.1% QoQ in MAU to 108 million. While management blamed the pandemic, we believe this was due to increasing competition from other live stream platforms and innovation of competitors.

Winner: JoYY a growing international live streaming powerhouse even without Huya

Despite selling its stake in Huya to Tencent, JoYY's other live streaming platforms YY Live and Bigo Live are picking up the slack with a combined MAU growth of 6.2% QoQ to 103 million. Bigo Live's MAU grew 16% QoQ due to aggressive overseas expansion. Even with a minor 6.4% dip in live streaming revenue, we believe Bigo Live's expansion in developed markets with low live streaming penetration allows it to become a leading platform internationally in the long run, as covered in our previous piece Buy YY on Overseas Live Stream Land Grabs.

Winner: HUYA, the leader of China's game and e-sports live streaming platform

Although Huya saw a fall in 1Q20 live streaming revenue of 3.1% QoQ to RMB 2.27 billion from RMB 2.35 billion in 4Q19, MAU still grew 0.6% to 151 million users, the third-highest 1Q20 MAU count among the five platforms in the chart below. The company's edge over its competitors is its large portfolio of exclusive broadcast rights to the ESL, LEC, and various other e-sport tournaments. Furthermore, management has stated that they intend to collaborate more with Tencent, which could boost the platform's growth as covered in our previous note Tencent to Supercharge HUYA's Userbase Growth and Monetization; Raise FV to US$28.2 (+47% Upside).

Sources: Company Data, Zero One

Read more on the other winners DouYu and Bilibili in our full note on Smartkarma in the link below.

Click here to read the full report on Smartkarma >>

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