Bilibili, China’s most popular online anime streaming service, is making a play to raise money from U.S. investors through an IPO. The streaming site has about 300 million users. So their user base is just slightly less than the entire population of the U.S. That puts Bilibili near Twitter, which is sitting at 320 million users in 2017.
According to Bloomberg and their anonymous sources, bilibili is looking to get listed on the New York Stock Exchange next year. Earlier this year, anonymous sources told Bloomberg that Chinese streaming service iQiYi was looking for American investment, and they have since made a licensing deal with Netflix.
If bilibili’s aim is entering the U.S. streaming market, it would have a huge impact on the current landscape. Since 2015, the streaming service has spent big and licensed more than 300 anime titles for the Chinese market. They have also help produced about 20 anime productions, including Space Patrol Luluco and Akiba’s Trip: The Animation. Bilibili streams their own homegrown Chinese animation (donghua) and user content.
It is possible that bilibili is only seeking U.S. investors so that they could bring American anime-style content over to China or to bolster their own war chest in China’s increasing licensing spending spree. According to The Association of Japanese Animators, the Chinese market was responsible for more than half of international revenue for the anime industry in 2016 with bilibili being a market leader.
Bilibili didn’t respond to Bloomberg for comment.