Sony announced on Friday that Sony Corporation of America will pay about US$400 million to buy 17.3 million shares of Chinese streaming platform bilibili. The purchased shares will account for 4.98% of the Chinese company's stock. The companies plan to collaborate on projects in the Chinese entertainment market, including animation and mobile games, after signing their business contract.
The company bilibili was founded in 2009, and it is China's largest streaming platform for Japanese animation, above TencentVideo and iQIYI. The company streams anime titles and also invests in anime productions. The website also includes Chinese animation and user-uploaded content. The service collects both advertising revenue and pay-per-view subscription charges.
American anime publisher Funimation and bilibili jointly announced a partnership to acquire anime licenses in March 2019. For the partnership, both companies are jointly acquiring licenses "over the next few years," including IP rights for broadcast television, video-on-demand, electronic sell-through, home entertainment, gaming, and merchandise in the United States and China.
Sony Music Entertainment's Aniplex subsidiary had established as of April 2019 a Shanghai-based subsidiary with the intent of starting on "full-scale" Chinese animation production, as well as sell merchandise. The subsidiary began operations last May.
Sources: Variety (Patrick Frater), Sony via Hachima Kikō