Entertainment in Asia

08 February 2021

China, Japan, and India are fast becoming key markets for the global entertainment industry. As the digital literacy and disposable incomes continue to grow, Western streaming giants need to pay more attention to the region, catering their services to local preferences and trends. At the same time, Asian entertainment and tech companies themselves are starting to grow the appetite for global markets. The article below provide some insights into new players entering this dynamic sector.

Japan’s anime goes global: Sony’s new weapon to take on Netflix

As most of the entertainment is now being consumed on small screens, one type of content, in particular, is seeing remarkable growth. With Japan's lucrative anime industry gearing up to satisfy global streaming giants' crave for new content, research firms forecast that the industry is set to expand from $24bn in 2019 to $33.6bn by 2026. Most of the growth is expected to be generated outside Japan. Like the rest of corporate Japan, the anime industry acknowledges that, as the domestic market plateaus, the future lies overseas. Indeed, Australia and New Zealand are among the biggest importers of anime content with homebound viewers increasingly turning to new content. The first company to benefit from the latest craze in entertainment is Sony. With recent investments in Crunchyroll, an anime streaming service with 3m subscribers, and Funimation, a US-based anime distributor, the Japanese corporation is looking to establish its own corner in the streaming world dominated by Netflix and Amazon.

Read the article on the Financial Times website. (available to subscribers)

Amazon and Netflix look beyond Bollywood for India’s next big hit

High population, digital literacy, and growing disposable incomes make India one of the most promising markets for entertainment content in the world. India's film industry alone was worth $2.6bn in 2019. A lion share of gross box office returns goes to Bollywood, Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai. The Covid-19 pandemic, however, has disrupted the supply of new content, forcing Amazon, Netflix, and cinema chains to invest in regional productions in southern states, such as Tamil Nadu. This push into local-language Indian content marks another chapter in the competition between global streaming services and signifies the growing importance of Asian markets to the entertainment world.

Read the article on the Financial Times website. (available to subscribers)

Video games - Kuaishou takes on TikTok and its Chinese sibling

Kuaishou, a Chinese video app, is planning to go public in Hong Kong. Tentatively valued at $50bn, it would surpass social media giants, such as Twitter ($37bn). Such a generous valuation is driven by Kuaishou's soaring revenues, which reached $3.6bn in the first two quarters of 2020. The business model is built around "live-stream gifting", whereby the company takes a cut on tips that viewers give live-streamers for their performances. This lucrative revenue stream is being threatened by newly introduced regulations that limit daily and monthly amounts that viewers can tip online. To overcome this challenge, Kuaishou needs to raise the advertisement share in its revenue mix from the current 28%. Despite its domestic problems, Kuaishou is on track to match its biggest rival, TikTok, globally. The international version of its app, Kwai, already boasts "tens of millions" of users and is seeing strong growth without attracting political scrutiny that its arch-rival has suffered from.

Read the article on The Economist website.

Other stories in this edition of Asia Echo: