Tencent, China’s social networking and gaming giant, led an RMB 616 million (around US$ 98 million) Series A round in Pear Video, a Chinese short video-streaming platform, China’s biztech media 36Kr reports on Monday. Search engine giant Baidu also participated in the round.
Founded in November 2016, Pear Video claims to be the largest news-centered short video producer in the country. The platform produces 1500 news videos on a daily basis and generates 1 billion views across its portal and app.
What makes Pear Video stand out is its vast network of vodcasters consisting of both self-media and established media services such as People’s Daily.
In China, the market for short-video streaming is thriving. The market size hit RMB 5.74 billion (approx. US$913.6 million) in 2017 and is expected to grow to RMB 30 billion (approx. US$ 4.8 billion) by 2020, according to a report by internet researcher iResearch. The monthly active users of short-video streaming apps reached 310 million in August 2017, and users spend on average 42.1 minutes per day on such apps during the same period, according to the same iResearch report.
At the same time, Chinese tech giants are vying for more market share in short video streaming. Tencent-backed Kuaishou ranks #1 by MAU among counterparts, but facing increasingly fierce competition from Toutiao’s Tik Tok, Huoshan, and Xigua.
Tencent is also betting on its revived Weishi app which looks similar to Tik Tok and is reportedly giving out US$ 478 million subsidies to lure content makers.
The iResearch report forecasts that as the industry keeps developing, there will be more opportunities for growth and monetization for Pear Video-like platforms which focus on particular verticals. That makes sense for Tencent’s investment in Pear Video, as the latter could help the tech giant to carve out a piece of the already crowded short video market from a niche point.