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Mobile gaming

Tencent-backed Douyu named fastest-growing tech firm in Asia Pacific

The three-year-old company became a unicorn in June after investments from backers Tencent and Sequoia Capital pushed its valuation to over US$1 billion

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 December, 2017, 6:16pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 December, 2017, 7:12am

Tencent-backed live streaming game platform Douyu, which broadcasts everything from video games to cooking lessons, topped the list of the fastest growing technology companies in Asia Pacific, according to global accounting and consultancy firm Deloitte.

Wuhan Douyu Network Technology Co, operator of douyu.com, a website similar to Amazon’s Twitch, has seen its revenue surge 707.8 times over the past three years as live-streaming and mobile gaming continues to grow in the region, according to Deloitte. 

The revenue surge comes as the three-year-old start-up achieved unicorn status -- a term for startups that have valuations over US$1 billion -- in June after investments from backers including Tencent and Sequoia Capital.

“Companies that are focused on providing China’s millennials with inexpensive entertainment options, such as gaming and live streaming, or those focused on e-commerce and fintech, are continuing to succeed,” William Chou, Deloitte China’s managing partner in technology, media and telecommunications, said in a statement on Monday.

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The market penetration of digital technology in China continues to grow, with those born after 1990 showing a much higher propensity to consume online content due to greater acceptance of digital payments and credit facilities, he added.

Live-broadcasting has taken off in China, becoming one of the hottest sectors in China’s rapidly evolving internet environment, with nearly 400 million people regularly watching live broadcasts via mobile devices, according to iResearch.

The new, low-cost pastime was estimated to have generated US$3 billion in revenue last year, up 180 per cent year on year.

Douyu, whose name literally translates as “fighting fish”, is one of the many companies that built a business around gamers broadcasting their online matches and sharing their strategies with fellow gamers, before expanding to other kinds of live streaming content such as cooking lessons, cosmetic tips and outdoor sports.

“We have worked very hard since we began in 2014 and have now started earning profits as a result,” Chen Shaojie, founder and chief executive of Douyu TV, said in a statement. Chen declined to elaborate when contacted for follow up questions by phone.

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The Wuhan-based start-up is competing with over 200 competitors including Panda TV, a live-streaming game site backed by Wang Sicong, the son of China’s second-richest tycoon Wang Jianlin.

“The Asia Pacific region continues to be at the forefront of revolutionary digital change,” said Toshifumi Kusunoki, a Deloitte leader.

China continues to dominate the tech sector in the region, claiming five spots in the top 10 list of fasting growing tech firms in Asia Pacific, and 119 in the Technology Fast 500 ranking. The lists are compiled by Deloitte based on a company’s financial year revenue growth over three years.