What Happened: A crowdfunding program for merchandise based on the video-sharing platform Bilibili’s popular anime show Link Click (时光代理人), a supernatural action thriller, has surpassed 5.4 million RMB. Over 40,000 fans signed up for items such as cotton dolls, umbrellas, bags, and vinyl records of the show’s soundtrack, breaking previous anime merchandise crowdfunding records in China. Launched on Bilibili’s e-commerce platform, which sells ACG (Animation, Comics and Games) related products, the crowdfunding goal was met during the month-long timeframe between June 26 to July 31.
The Jing Take: Despite China’s ongoing tech clampdown, Bilibili continues to generate impressive growth in users and revenue and is one of China’s fastest growing companies. It is also one of the largest producers and broadcasting platforms of animation in China, attracting a younger and desirable consumer base. According to iResearch’s Report on China’s Gen-Z Anime Figure Consumption Trends 2021, the Chinese anime figure market alone is estimated to reach over 9 billion RMB in 2023.
Luxury is no stranger to anime, especially more recently, as more and more global luxury brands — Loewe, Gucci, Balenciaga, and Coach, among others — are dipping their toes into the sector. However most players have not yet fully understood the far-reaching cultural significance of the AGC subculture in China. Bilibili’s integration into the lucrative AGC market has been seamless and seen as entirely authentic to its many, many users, which in turn, continue to be the mainstay behind its rapid growth; its e-commerce business is deeply rooted in its rich content and centered around users’ interests.
Moreover, crowdfunding, as well as group-buying and blind boxes, are now desirable models for Chinese IP owners to gain cost-effective insights into customers’ demands — in advance. Instead of manufacturing and selling products, these inventory saving methods present opportunities to generate community and inclusivity, novelty experiences, user excitement and engagement. In all, these are takeaways global luxury players need to learn.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.