Anime streaming site Bilibili goes down briefly, driving China’s Gen Z crazy on other social media
- Bilibili blamed server problems for a brief outage Tuesday night that had the platform’s young users speculating about the company on Weibo
- The video-streaming site, known for its anime offerings, has grown in influence with China’s Gen Z internet users as it pivots to become a YouTube-like platform
Posts about the outage started appearing on Weibo around 11pm – the peak time for online entertainment in China – as users complained about the loss of their nighttime entertainment. Some users had been receiving error messages such as “404 Not Found” or “Sorry, the page is not available now”, screenshots posted online show.
As discussion increased on Weibo, it gave rise to speculation that the company’s Shanghai headquarters had caught fire. The Shanghai fire department responded to the rumours with a notice saying there were no reports of a fire at the address and that no fire alarm had gone off in the building.
By early Wednesday morning, service had resumed. Hong Kong-listed Bilibili issued a statement at about 2am apologising for the outage and attributing it to “operating problems in some of the server rooms”.
One user joked about what must have been an awkward moment for bloggers and influencers that rely on the platform. “Go comfort that horror game blogger. The entire audience disappeared in the middle of the show,” the person posted to Weibo.
Other users sought compensation from the company. “How about a lucky draw? Let’s try [free] memberships,” one Weibo user suggested.
Bilibili, known primarily for its anime offerings, has 60.1 million daily active users. The average number of monthly paying users reached 20.5 million in the first quarter, a 53 per cent increase from the same period in 2020, according to financial filings.
The late-night outage does not appear to have impacted the stock price in New York, where Bilibili is also listed on the Nasdaq. Prices rose 3.2 per cent on Tuesday to US$110.40 despite the outage happening in the middle of the day.