After acquiring BIGO, China’s live-streamer YY says it gains 80% of its users from overseas

The core live-streaming business is growing well while the newer businesses short video and video conferencing are growing super fast.

Photo: provided to company with the press release

China’s live-streaming platform YY disclosed its second quarter earnings on Wednesday, saying it booked RMB 6.3 billion (USD 917 million) in revenue, up 66.8% year-on-year and exceeding the high end of the company’s previous guidance range.

That generated into RMB 42.1 million (USD 6.1 million) as net income, compared to net loss of RMB 99.9 million one year ago.

The increase in net revenues was primarily driven by a 66.4% year-on-year increase in live streaming revenues which reached RMB 5.9 billion, said CFO Bing Jin, adding that the consolidation of BIGO also fueled additional user and revenue growth.  YY acquired Singapore-based BIGO at USD 1.45 billion in March.

A closer look at key figures shows that YY’s live streaming users make up only one third of YY’s overall monthly active users (MAUs), but account for more than 90% of the company’s entire revenue in the third quarter.

YY said that global average mobile MAUs for all its services reached 433.5 million, among which about 78.1% were from markets outside China but did not deliberate on this. Among them, 140.9 million were for its live streaming services, which included the YY app, Huya, and Bigo Live.

MAUs for video conferencing app IMO, which is run by BIGO, reached 211.9 million, three months after CEO David Li Xueling told analysts on the Q1 earnings call that he hoped IMO could grow into a super app. This is also the first time that YY has disclosed detailed user numbers for the app.

“During the second quarter, we further enhanced the stickiness of IMO users by introducing short-form video content into IMO. About 17.5 million monthly users in more than 40 countries were able to access the short-form video content on IMO,” said Li in a press release. In fact, IMO has also integrated live streaming services, KrAsia reported earlier this week.

YY’s average mobile MAUs of global short-form video services in the second quarter increased by 431.2% to 90.3 million from 17.0 million in the corresponding period of 2018, including 80.7 million from BIGO’s Likee (formerly known as Like) and 9.6 million from IMO’s embedded short-form video services.

“Our massive and diverse user base offers us a great opportunity for synergy and future monetization,” said Li.

YY also announced that its board of directors has authorized a share repurchase plan to repurchase up to USD 300 million of its shares over the next 12 months.