Ep. 43: Douyu’s IPO, Panda.TV’s Death — Let the Gaming Livestreaming Games Begin


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In Episode 43 of TechBuzz China, co-hosts Ying-Ying Lu and Rui Ma dive into the world of gaming live streaming, which is a pretty big industry in China. Specifically, our co-hosts focus primarily on two companies, Douyu and Panda.TV. The former has just filed to go public on the NYSE at a valuation of $500 million, and the latter officially shut down on March 30 of this year. Notably, these and several other players mentioned in today’s episode have all received Tencent investment at one point or another — not a surprise, since gaming is in Tencent’s lifeblood. Our co-hosts, while both not gamers, acknowledge that the topic of today’s episode is interesting because it is one of the most global ones out there, with plenty of opportunities for cross-border capital.

Rui and Ying-Ying begin by launching into the history of the industry, and by giving some topline stats about the current game-centric live-streaming platforms in China. They share that while Douyu claims to be #1, and while it has more users than Huya, Huya is about 25 percent larger by revenue and was profitable last year, unlike the loss-making Douyu. They continue by explaining the critical roles that platforms YY and ACFun have played, and tell the founding story of Douyu.

Listen to find out: Why was 2014 considered a good year for Chinese esports in general? What are the synergies between the U.S.-based Twitch and some of these domestic platforms? What has been the role of Wang Sicong, known in China as the People’s Husband due to his status as the country’s most eligible bachelor, in pushing the industry forward? What are the core competencies of any gaming live-streaming platform, and how well has each of these players performed in these areas? On which of these competencies was Panda.TV beaten by Huya and Douyu? What strategies are existing platforms experimenting with going forward, and which of these strategies do Rui and Ying-Ying think are sustainable?

As a reminder, listeners unfamiliar with live streaming in China should check out our seventh episode, “How to Win Fans and Influence Losers.”

As always, you can find these stories and more at pandaily.com. Do let us know what you think of the show by leaving us an iTunes review, liking our Facebook page, and tweeting at us at @techbuzzchina! Thank you also to our listeners over at our partner, dealstreetasia.com.

We are grateful for our rock-star producers, Shaw Wan and Kaiser Kuo, and our interns, Wang Menglu and Mindy Xu.

Our sponsor for this episode is the University of San Francisco. USF’s new master’s degree in applied economics is a STEM-designated program that combines economics training with the practical skills in data analytics needed to understand today’s new digital economy. To learn more, visit usfca.edu/techbuzz.