The rise of live streaming in China – a detailed look


China has witnessed a thriving development of live streaming since late 2015. As the mega cosmetic brand Maybelline and leading e-commerce platform Taobao both leveraged the trend to drive sales, a Chinese data provider focused on mobile Internet-QuestMobile decided to probe deeper to understand why.

It conducted a deep-dive research on the live stream mobile apps in August, focusing on the user behavior and China’s leading independent live stream applications, including YY, Inke, and Douyu.

A huge jump in consumer number on live stream apps

160830_Live stream apps soaring_1According to the data provided by QuestMobile, the monthly active users has reached  85 million in May (the eighth bar), a huge jump from the 52.71 million in last October (the first bar), which means the user base increases by more than 33 million over a eight-month period.

Despite the overall optimistic increasing, the growth rate per each month has fluctuated. It is worth noting that the rate reached a peak of 18.9% in last January, while the growth pace slowed 5.4% after Chinese New Year (February). After then the curve fluctuates in a more gentle way, moving about 9%. However, in the latest recorded month of June in 2016, the number dropped down a little bit to 5.3%. Given the facts that more live stream applications, such as Inke, are powering up in the recent competition, it is hard to say that the trend suggests a decline of streaming.

Live stream app users prefer live shows than videos during midnight

160830_Live stream apps soaring_2On live stream applications, users can get access to both prerecorded online videos and live shows. The study shows that the videos (the orange line) are more attractive to audiences during the daytime from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., while the live shows become their principal amusement during the late night from 10 p.m. to 4 o’clock in the morning.

Soaring growth of new comer – Inke

160830_Live stream apps soaring_3The research also summarized the Top 5 live stream applications in China, respectively – Inke, YY, Douyu, Huya Live and Panda TV (ranked according to their latest MAUs in May 2016). Inke, a newcomer which hit the market in May 2015, has enjoyed a strong increase in active users, from 660,000 to 25.67 million to May this year. It beat  out the previous market leader YY and ranked the NO.1 among all the live stream applications in China. It looks like their recent digital campaign encouraging Chinese netizens to ‘be themselves’ really worked 😉


About Author

Tracy Zhang

As a Masters graduate of Foreign Trade, Tracy started her career helping supermarket brand City Shop to source the ‘hunger’ of Shanghai’s internationalizing consumers. Now that she has found her passion in consumer research, she is helping develop Resonance's ground-breaking ethnographic offer.

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