Bilibili (stylized bilibili, simplified Chinese: 哔哩哔哩; traditional Chinese: 嗶哩嗶哩; pinyin: bīlībīlī), also nicknamed B Site (B站) in China, is a Chinese video sharing website based in Shanghai, themed around animation, comics, and games (ACG), where users can submit, view and add overlaid commentary on videos. Bilibili uses Adobe Flash or HTML5 player, to play user submitted videos hosted by either itself or third-party sources, featuring a scrolling danmu ("bullet curtain" : 弹幕 Chinese: danmu; Japanese: danmaku) commenting system. Since the mid-2010s, Bilibili began to expand to a broader audience from its original niche market that focused on anime and games, and it has become one of the major Chinese video on demand over-the-top streaming platforms that programs critically acclaimed and popular documentaries, variety shows, and other original programming.
Type of site
|Traded as||Nasdaq: BILI |
|Area served||Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, and Southeast Asia|
|Owner||Bilibili Inc. (company legal name in Latin)|
Shanghai Hode Information Technology Co., Ltd.
|Created by||Xu Yi (⑨bishi)|
|Registration||Optional (required for uploading, liking videos and posting comments)|
|Users||Over 31.6 million registered users (December 2017) |
560,000 (October 2012)
|Launched||14 January 2010|
Bilibili hosts videos on various themes, including anime, music, dance, science and technology, movies, drama, fashion and video game Let's Plays, but is also known for the extensive kuso-style parodies by subcultural content creators. Bilibili provides a live streaming service where the audience can interact with streamers. Other than videos, Bilibili also offers games, mostly ACG-themed mobile games, such as the Chinese version of Fate/Grand Order.
The founder of Bilibili, Xu Yi (Chinese: 徐逸; pinyin: Xú Yì, known as "⑨bishi" on the internet), created a prototype website named Mikufans.cn in three days after graduating college. He relaunched the website on 24 January 2010 with the name Bilibili. Later in 2011, he founded a startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology, to manage the development and operation of Bilibili. Since November 2014, Chen Rui (Chinese: 陈睿) has been CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bilibili.
Inspired by the similar video sharing websites, Nico Nico Douga and AcFun, Xu Yi founded Bilibili in 2009. At the time, Xu Yi was an AcFun user and wanted to create a site better than AcFun. He spent three days creating a prototype website named Mikufans.cn as a fandom community of Hatsune Miku. As it grew, he reshaped the website to specialize in video sharing and launched it on 14 January 2010 with the name Bilibili (bilibili.us), which is the nickname of the protagonist Mikoto Misaka in the anime A Certain Scientific Railgun. Bilibili also names many of its features with reference to this anime. Bilibili celebrates Mikoto Misaka's birthday on its homepage every 2 May.
In 2011, Bilibili's domain name bilibili.us was revoked because of the domain registrar enforcing .us restrictions. As a result, Bilibili switched to bilibili.tv on 25 June 2011. Afterwards, in late 2011, Xu Yi founded the startup, Hangzhou Huandian Technology (Chinese: 幻电; pinyin: huàndiàn; lit. 'fantastic electricity') based in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, for better development and operation of Bilibili.
In April 2012, Bilibili obtained an agreement with Nico Nico Douga to webcast the latest Chinese-subbed episodes of the newly airing anime Fate/Zero starting from 7 April. However, this program was censored and ordered to stop after three episodes for being reported as unauthorized operation of Internet audio-video broadcasting services. Its operating company Hangzhou Huandian Technology was administratively penalized and fined 10,000 yuan by local government.
In August 2012, Bilibili started to display logos on its homepage to indicate affiliation with the state-owned Shanghai Media Group and share the use of various content provider licenses in the hopes of avoiding future legal risks. Meanwhile, anonymous visitors to bilibili.tv got redirected to a subdomain of Shanghai Media Group Broad Band subsidiary (bilibili.smgbb.cn).
Since November 2014, Chen Rui (陈睿), a billionaire tech magnate, has been CEO and Chairman of the Board of Bilibili. Chen earned his bachelor's degree from Chengdu University of Information Technology. Chen previously served as a general manager at Kingsoft and founded various internet companies like Cheetah Mobile and Beike Internet Security. In 2016, Fortune named Chen Rui as one of China's 40 Under 40.
On 23 March 2019, at AnimeJapan 2019, Bilibili announced that they had partnered with Sony-owned American anime distributor Funimation to jointly license anime titles for both the U.S. and Chinese markets.
On 9 April 2020, Sony Corporation of America announced it would be acquiring a 4.98% minority stake in Bilibili for US$400 million, valuing Bilibili at US$8 billion. Upon completion of the deal, Sony and Bilibili signed an agreement for the expansion of anime and mobile games within the Chinese market.
On 23 March 2021, it was reported that Bilibili would raise US$2.6 billion on the Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEX). This is the company's secondary listing, as it is already public on the NASDAQ in New York City.
Besides hosting video content, Bilibili's core feature is a real-time captioning system that displays user comments as streams of scrolling subtitles overlaid on the video playback screen, visually resembling a danmaku shooter game. These subtitles are called bullet comments, danmu, or danmaku (Chinese: 弹幕; pinyin: dànmù; Japanese: 弾幕; rōmaji: danmaku; "bullet curtain"). Such subtitles are simultaneously broadcast to all viewers in real-time, creating a chat room experience in which users feel like watching and playing together with others. This system offers users various subtitle controls, including style, format, and movement. Users are also fond of creating translated and soramimi subtitles, or special effects with carefully formed subtitles.
The site also offers a feature called "advanced subtitles", where users can use an ECMAScript-based API to control video playback, dynamically change danmaku subtitles and draw shapes onto the screen. However, some features are only available on browsers running Adobe Flash, and do not work well with HTML5 players. This functionality is only available with the video poster's permission.
Bullet comments are made to be easy to post, but due to the number and diversity of users, only registered users who have passed a user verification check and have a cell phone number tied to their account may post comments. Comments usually move from right to left on a video, and if viewers do not wish to be distracted by bullet comments, they can turn disable them. There are three types of bullet comments offered on Bilibili, rolling comments, top comments and bottom comments. Non-registered user can make comments, but they are limited to 20 characters. Registered users may edit the size and colour of their comments, and have an increased comment character limit of 220. The video creator has the ability to clear or save all bullet comments. Bilibili users often use acronyms or slang unique to the site, such as the code "2333" to indicate laughter. Another commonly seen type of comment is a "high energy alert" (高能预警), which is a kind of spoiler warning, to tell the audience that something exciting or climactic is approaching.
Bilibili also has an API, enabling third-party developers to access website content including video lists, comments, danmu subtitles, special topics and airing programs. The API service is rate-limited and requires developer keys for authentication.
Bilibili's operating company consists of a team of nine members all versed in the Japanese language and culture. Two are web developers, including Xu Yi himself, and the rest are website editors and moderators. Bilibili is completely free, with its main revenue coming from webpage advertisement and affiliate marketing.
Most content on Bilibili is free for anonymous viewing, while some videos require a membership. Select videos are also only available under the Chengbao system (承包), in which case members must pay to access them. Membership is also required for submitting videos or comments. Bilibili limits membership availability to balance the quality of its userbase and moderation capacity. In March 2013, signing-up was enabled via a limited number of invitation codes that could be sent by existing users. After registration, users needed to complete a 100 question examination to become a premium member, with questions mostly covering the areas of anime, manga and games. The level of difficulty was so high that users called it "The Chinese Otaku High School Exam". On 19 May 2015, Bilibili reduced the number of questions to 50, with 20 of the questions revolving around internet comment etiquette. On 26 February 2017, Bilibili reinstated the 100 question exam, with 60 correct answers as the passing score. Senior users of the site may purchase invitation codes to grant new users membership.
On 9 October 2016, Bilibili launched a premium membership subscription service on the site, costing RMB 25 per month. Premium members get access to videos in 1080p resolution and may receive early access to certain videos, alongside other benefits such as discounts on games owned by Bilibili. From 1 January 2018, Bilibili etxtended its early access programme for premium members, giving them early access to certain episodes of animated series, with regular members having to wait up to a week to watch them.
On 26 February 2017, an account blocking function was launched to regulate the website content and userbase. If a site administrator finds offensive content, the offending content is to be deleted and the uploader is punished. Accounts may be suspended temporarily or permanently, depending on the severity of the offence.
On 15 June 2017, Bilibili officially launched a "discipline Committee" service. Discipline committee members can arbitrate reports of violations in some communities and decide whether the behavior is illegal and the punishment by voting.
Upload and review
Similar to other video-sharing websites in mainland China, Bilibili is subject to strict content censorship. As of 10 February 2017, individual users are prohibited from uploading videos regarding politics, with only certified bodies allowed to upload political content.
Bilibili began its foray into original programming by joining the production of Season 4 of Informal Talks (非正式会谈). It has recently produced other original shows such as Rap for Youth (说唱新世代).
Bilibili has also established affiliated communities: Corari (Chinese: 协作乡; lit. 'Hometown of Collaboration', currently offline), a collaboration project founding community; DrawYoo, a creative drawing community; The Ninth Channel, a support forum for Bilibili.
In October 2016, Bilibili announced their sponsorship of the Shanghai Sharks baseball team. Bilibili chose to sponsor the Shanghai Sharks primarily due to the fact they both originated from Shanghai, with the team later changing its name to Shanghai Bilibili.
League of Legends
In December 2017, Bilibili purchased an esports team originally called IM for League of Legends and renamed to Bilibili Gaming (BLG for abbreviation). BLG took part in the Tencent League of Legends Pro League (LPL) in China.
In September 2018, Bilibili purchased a team in the Overwatch League for the city of Hangzhou. The team, Hangzhou Spark, took part in the 2019 Overwatch League season.
Bilibili collaborated with Taobao in December 2014 as part of the 12 December Online Shopping Festival. Bilibili's logo appeared on the Taobao's front page. Users could shoot danmaku to express their ideas.
On 13 March 2015, Durex released an online advertisement on the Bilibili website, which lasted for three hours. The advertisement was aimed at buyers purchasing presents for White Day. The advertisement campaign aimed to promote Durex Air, and attracted 100 million viewers.
On 10 May 2015, Xiaomi held a product launch for the Xiaomi Max smartphone on Bilibili that lasted for 19 days. The campaign reached 39.54 million viewers during the period and over 3.17 billion comments were made.
The group's companies have published the following games for the Chinese market:
- MICA Team / Sunborn Network Technology
- Girls' Frontline
- 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams
Cai Xukun, a Chinese artist and singer, was chosen as NBA spokesperson in January 2019, sparking controversy. His introduction video from Idol Producer, which involved him playing basketball, went viral. Following this, hundreds of parody videos appeared on Bilibili mocking the original video. Cai Xukun issued a lawsuit notice asking for Bilibili to remove the parody videos. Bilibili responded that they believed the videos were not in violation of the law, and refused to punish the users who uploaded the videos. Lyrics from the video, such as "sing, jump, rap, basketball" went on to become viral as well. To prevent potential backlash and spam from users on the site, Bilibili temporary halted the verification of new accounts.
Servers in Taiwan
In September 2019 Bilibili was discovered to be illegally renting servers in Taiwan. The Taiwanese National Communications Commission required provider Chief Telecom to cease renting space to Bilibili immediately after the issue was disclosed by a Taiwan-based think tank. Chinese VOD services are not allowed to operate in Taiwan due to national security concerns.
Source code leak
In April 2019, a repository called "Bilibili website backend codes", with a large number of user names and passwords, was published on GitHub. The repository, which had more than 50 MB of source code, was taken down by GitHub due to "excessive use of resources". The repository amassed more than 6,000 stars in just a few hours. However, copies of the repository could still be found on GitHub and other platforms. Bilibili responded that the leaked code was from an older version of their website and that they had taken "defensive steps to ensure the accident won't compromise user data security".
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- Official website
- Business data for Bilibili: