Bilibili: From Niche to Mainstream?

Yu Zhang, Wenting Xue

Research output: Other contributionCase Studies


This case describes how Bilibili survived and thrived in the online entertainment industry under the siege of the incumbents. In China, the demographic dividend seems to remain, and online entertainment—including video, mobile games, and live broadcasting—continues to be a large and fast-growing industry. According to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019 report, the number of mobile Internet users in China increased 9% year-over-year in 2018 to 817 million, while mobile data usage increased 189% year-over-year, faster than 2017's 162% increase.[ Mary Meeker, Internet Trends 2019 (Bond Capital), accessed October 20, 2020,] Generation Z, which is defined as those born between the late 1990s and early 2000s, has become the main driving force in the digital era. Bilibili targeted this group of Internet natives as its main audience, and thus developed and customized a series of features to win their hearts. Compared with top video and streaming service platforms iQIYI, Tencent Video, and Youku, who were backed by Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, respectively, Bilibili successfully built up a super-sticky community thanks to its registration exam and bullet-chatting feature, as well as continuous management of its unique ecosystem, especially its content creator support scheme. However, risks such as unsustainable revenue streams might put the brake on Bilibili's high-speed growth. Apart from those risks, the biggest challenge is embedded in Bilibili's core competency: Should it adhere to its original intention as a niche community without too many commercials, or include mainstream content and embrace more users, investors, and advertisers?
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

Case number


Case normative number


Case type

Field Case

Update date



For more details, please visit

Published by

China Europe International Business School


  • online video industry
  • niche strategy
  • competitive advantage
  • Market Competition
  • diversification
  • business model
  • Business Models
  • Bilibili

Case studies discipline

  • General Management
  • Information Technology
  • Strategy

Case studies industry

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
  • Information, Media & Telecommunications


Dive into the research topics of 'Bilibili: From Niche to Mainstream?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this