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Video | Chinese video game livestreaming platforms set to challenge Twitch

Huya and Douyu, both backed by Tencent, have already surpassed Twitch in number of monthly active users.

e-sports women e-sports women. Source: Tuchong

With over 650 million players in 2019, China is the world’s biggest game market and home of Twitch-like livestreaming platforms such as Douyu (NASDAQ: DOYU) and Huya (NASDAQ: HUYA), the two biggest local players in the video game streaming sector.

According to iiMedia, game livestreaming revenue in the Chinese market reached USD 1.87 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow into a USD 3.5 billion business by 2020.

Chinese gaming giant Tencent (HKG: 0700) is majority shareholder of both Douyu and Huya, but that doesn’t imply that these two companies aren’t competing for the crown. By the fourth quarter of 2019, Douyu’s monthly active users reached 165.8 million, while the number for Huya was 150 million. By comparison, US giant Twitch has a user base of 140 million MAUs.

However, the monetization model of Douyu and Huya differs from that of Twitch. With great reliance on tips and virtual gifts from users, both platforms need to spend a lot of their revenue to keep famous streamers exclusive to their platforms, leading to top streamers making millions of dollars every year.

On the other hand, the rapid growth in the video game streaming sector by Bilibili, and also Tencent-backed Kuaishou has threatened the dominance of Huya and Douyu. In 2019, Kuaishou said its daily active users has exceeded 35 million, which  larger than that of Douyu and Huya combined, according to market researcher QuestMobile.

To learn about the top companies in China’s gaming livestreaming market, check out the second release of Going Live, a series that looks at China’s growing livestreaming industry.

Check out our other episodes:

Episode one: Are e-commerce and livestreaming a perfect match?

Episode three: Is Likee becoming the next TikTok?

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