In 2012, livestreaming site YY.com established the first livestreaming platform specific to games in China. In 2014, the game streaming platform — which lets users watch the livestream of other people playing online games — proved so popular that it spun off into an independent entity and was renamed HUYA, as parent company YY Inc prepared to be listed on the the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
After fierce competition among thousands of game streaming sites over the following years, HUYA and DouYu TV (formerly ACFUN streaming) emerged victorious, and both received investment from internet giant Tencent this past March to the tune of $460 million and $630 million, respectively (link in Chinese).
“Under the deal, Tencent and HUYA agreed to establish strategic cooperation in game streaming and game-related businesses,” China Money Network reported last month. “HUYA says it is also expanding into other entertainment genres, such as talent shows, anime, and outdoor activities.”
On May 11, HUYA announced its “initial public offering of 15,000,000 American depositary shares, at US$12.0 per ADS for a total offering size of approximately US$180.0 million,” according to an official release pertaining to its NYSE listing. Shares of HUYA (NASDAQ: HUYA) were priced at $15.50 at opening, peaked at $17.07, and closed on the first day of trading at $16.06. As of this writing, they’re valued at over $3.4 billion USD.
The game streaming platform includes some of China’s most popular e-sports and online games, such as Honor of Kings, League of Legends, and Defense of the Ancients. In the fourth quarter of 2017, HUYA attracted 86 million monthly active users overall — 38 million of them on mobile –whose average daily time spent on the app was 99 minutes, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan.
The platform’s 600 thousand hosts are its main source of income — this group brought in 1.4 billion RMB, 63.8% of HUYA’s revenue, in 2017. HUYA started to turn a profit for the first time in the first quarter of this year.
Dong Rongjie, HUYA’s CEO, listed three trends in the Chinese gaming industry in an online interview released just before last week’s bell ringing ceremony in New York:
Firstly, some companies who used to create RPGs [role-playing games] are turning to MOBA [Multiplayer Online Battle Arena] games, and the cost for bandwidth is decreasing, which means new games will be more livestream-friendly; Secondly, the content conveyed by game streaming is increasing; Thirdly, from Werewolves to “chicken dinner games,” more and more gamers go on to play games themselves after watching game streaming.
Cover photo: Weibo
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