Anime video-streaming website Bilibili on Wednesday started beta testing a paid course system, marking the platform’s entry into China’s online learning market, media outlet 36Kr reported.

Why it matters: As mobile game revenue growth continues its sluggish pace, Bilibili is stepping up efforts to further boost its value-added services, one of the platform’s fastest-growing businesses.

  • The company’s mobile game revenue rose 16% year-on-year in the second quarter, while its revenue from live broadcasting and value-added services jumped 175% year on year.
  • The number of paying users on the platform more than doubled year on year in the second quarter to 6.3 million.

“For Bilibili, paid content is an important link to building a high-quality content ecosystem. We will roll out more types of paid content based on user feedback and requirements to satisfy different learning needs.”

—a Bilibili spokeswoman to TechNode

Details: Paid courses on Bilibili include those intended to teach practical skills such as essay-writing, creating PowerPoint presentations, and programming, as well as informational lessons that focus on history or art appreciation.

  • All paid courses on the platform are sold in packages, and users are not allowed to purchase individual lessons.
  • The prices of courses appear to be set by content creators but are generally between RMB 50 and RMB 129, with most courses priced around RMB 75 (around $10).
  • During beta testing, only content creators invited by Bilibili can create paid courses. Famous creators include Chinese military theorist and admiral Zhang Zhaozhong, who has been popular on Bilibili for years.
  • The paid course system is only available for users based in mainland China for copyright reasons.

Context: Prior to introducing the paid course system, Bilibili already had an ample supply of free videos from content creators on a number of topics such as learning Japanese and computer-building.

  • Bilibili COO Li Ni said on Oct. 25 that more than 20 million people had used Bilibili’s courses this year, though she did not specify the standards of measurement.
  • Li also said that Bilibili would open up its ecosystem to all of its brand partners in 2020.
  •  Bilibili is known for its anime and gaming content, though it has been expanding recently to include broader entertainment categories. Its users tend to be younger, with 78% between the ages of 18 to 35 as of the second quarter.

Updated: This story was updated to include recent user age data.

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Tony Xu

Tony Xu is Shanghai-based tech reporter. Connect with him via e-mail:

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