Huoshan.com, a short video platform backed by ByteDance, announced its One Million Experts (百万行家) plan which will inject RMB 1 billion ($150 million) worth cash and resources in the following year. The fund is aimed at users in industrial, professional, and service sectors to show and exchange experiences.
Huoshan AKA Volcano Video or Vigo Video is not only eyeing commercial interests. As Beijing tightens regulation and censorship, the platform was criticized by China’s content watchdog the State Administration of Radio and Television for allowing distribution of improper content. Huoshan’s City Channel also shut done to clean up vulgar content in April.
The company thus set up a new topic recommending and distributing positive energy content to respond to Beijing’s policy shift and hedge any undesirable administrative risks.
According to Zhang Chao, the Huoshan officer in charge of the One Million Experts project, phase one period targets professionals, industrial institutions, and multi-channel networks (MCNs) in industries including cooking, fitness, architecture, magic show skills, education, martial arts, and vehicle mechanics.
Zhang stressed that the platform’s industrial professional content attracts more than 5 billion daily views, and provides the business foundation for the formal launch of the plan.
Nevertheless, based on Zhang’s commercial calculation and Huoshan’s negative record in Beijing’s regulation database, the project is more like a compromise that seeks stable and low-risk profit channels to sustain essential growth, consolidate market share, and diversify content portfolios.
Local media phrased that the RMB 1 billion worth resources will build up a video-version Industrial Encyclopaedia. Huoshan will also provide one-to-one exclusive service to partners to help transform professional content into circulative media projects. Meanwhile, the platform is reported to be in talks with CCTV 7 (agriculture channel) for collaboration.
The clear business model integrating policy-backed resources will reduce trust cost and administrative concerns when building up partnerships in the booming but risky Chinese content and live streaming economy.
And an RMB 1 billion project is not new to Huoshan. In 2017, during its early stage development in China, the company announced to give out RMB 1 billion in cash to 15-second viral videos’ makers.
The live streaming industry in China is seeing increasing competition. Profitability and policy pressure demand players to maintain strong performance and traffic to secure a position in the field. As Huya and Inke went public, catchers will have to seek alternative channels for financing and unique content to stay in the game.