As YouTube celebrates 10th anniversary, Hong Kong leads the way in smartphone viewership

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 June, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 June, 2015, 11:46am

Video sharing website YouTube has recorded a 70 per cent year-on-year increase in the amount of video uploaded to the site in Hong Kong and a 50 per cent increase in the time people spend watching videos.

Hong Kong is also leading growth in terms of viewers on mobile devices with 50 per cent of users in the city accessing the service on their smartphones as audiences seek out comedy and news clips while on the move.

“The Hong Kong audience is definitely very diverse, they love a lot of different content,” said Marty Chen, manager of YouTube content partnerships for Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“When we look at what’s popular in Hong Kong, it’s not necessarily locally produced but a lot of content that’s from Taiwan, or the US, is content Cantonese people are familiar with.”

The Google-owned site launched in 2005 with a short clip of one of its founders talking about elephants at San Diego Zoo and has grown to more than 1 billion monthly users. Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded to the platform.

Hong Kong is home to two YouTube creators with more than 1 million subscribers, according to Chen.

Beauty channel Bubzbeauty run by Lindy Tsang shares makeup tips to 2.9 million subscribers on her main channel and a further 870,000 subscribers on her vlogging channel, which edits together snippets of her daily life.

WATCH: A video of DigitalRev challenging a Hong Kong-based photojournalist to use a paper camera attracted more than 500,000 views on YouTube

Photography and camera reviewing channel DigitalRev has nearly 1.3 million subscribers logging on to view its videos including a segment challenging professional photographers to use cheap cameras.

DigitalRev’s channel was started to promote the company’s e-commerce site selling cameras, Chen said.

“They’ve built a community where people would know who the presenter is, they would know their character and their personality,” Chen said.

“It’s much more than just an e-commerce website, they’re able to become their own marketers.”

Advertisers are now changing the tone and style of their advertisements to make them something people choose to watch on YouTube.

Wrigley’s Extra hired Hong Kong YouTubers to play the roles of four types of lunch companion in an advert that received 200,000 views in its first two days.

Although blocked in China, YouTube is working with Chinese companies to promote their products outside the country, according to Dominic Allon, managing director of Google Hong Kong.

“We have lots of interest from our advertisers who are based in China who want to promote their brand or sell things overseas,” Allon said. “All of the strengths of YouTube that you see in the international markets benefit Chinese advertisers as well, and that’s a key part of what we do in China.”

Several large video-sharing services from mainland China have expanded into Hong Kong in recent months, including LeTV, which announced in April that it was spending HK$1 million per episode on an original online series aimed at Hong Kong viewers.

Allon said the company welcomes competition from other video sharing sites.