Kuaishou, one of the most poplular short-video streaming platforms in China, confirmed that it’d acquired ACG streaming platform ACFun. Financial details of this deal remain disclosed, though local media has revealed that it was completed for less than $115 million (RMB750 million). Last year, ACFun’s losses exceeded $15.5 million (RMB100 million).
Launched in 2007, ACFun was the earliest-founded ACG streaming platform in China. And thanks to its openness and diversities in the early stage, ACFun rapidly became one of the hottest communities among youths. For the past few years, however, this company had been passed through various owners, which made its future full of uncertainties. In June 2017, SAPPRFT, the watch dog for TVs and films in China issued a statement demanding ACFun shutting down its video service and conducting rectification. One month later, tons of videos were removed under the regulation pressure. In August the same year, registered users were asked to complete the real-name authentication. Additionally, ACFun had been accused of content infringement. In March 2015, Youku Tudou brought an action against ACFun for illegally using its content, and demanded a compensation of RMB18 million cash and minority stakes. Last year, Sina sued ACFun for broadcasting the Golden Horse Awards ceremony, and claimed for indemnity. Earlier this year, ACFun went dark for a couple of weeks for having failed to pay its server bills.
Before its selling-out to Kuaishou, rumour had it later 2017 that Yunfeng Capital had been negotiating with the company to buy a portion of equity, and aslo intended to restructure ACFun in an value of RMB1 billion. Yunfeng is a private equity firm started by a group of successful Chinese entrepreneurs, included Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. But the attempt to reorganize ACFun eventually failed, and in March, Yunfeng Capital reportedly decided to withdraw its offer. Soon after Yunfeng’s withdrawing, Bytedance, the direct rival of Kuaishou, showed its interest in ACFun, though somehow the deal wasn’t proceeded successfully.
Kuaishou, focuses on lower-educational and youth-friendly UGC short videos, is backed by Chinese social media giant Tencent, recently valued at $18 billion. In contrast, the latest valuation of Bytedance reportedly is around $35 billion.
Now, with 200 million DAUs and bolsters of ACFun, Kuaishou would acquire more advantages to battle with other rivals. On the other hand, with the competition turning more intense, Tencent and ByteDance currently are suing each other in courts and acclaiming unfair competitions against opponents.
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