streaming sources for video content in China
Philippe Guinaudeau

Philippe Guinaudeau

Children’s most popular streaming sources for video content in China

Technology is transforming the way we, and inevitably, children, consume information and entertainment. Many households have abandoned cable TV subscriptions that can cost upwards of $100 a month, opting for streaming video services instead, such as Netflix, that cost as little as $10 a month. This trend is being seen worldwide and is evidenced by the fact that Netflix has over 155 million subscribers across the globe.

Which streaming sources does your child use to watch content?

Interestingly, YouTube & Netflix are the world’s largest video streaming platforms. Youtube boasts over one billion users in more than 88 countries, whilst Netflix has over 155 million subscribers in 190 countries. However, neither of these streaming services operate in China, where they have been blocked. 

This ban has resulted in the Chinese marketplace providing an opportunity for domestic streaming platforms to flourish.  IHS Markit predicts that the Chinese online video market will grow from approximately 22 billion yuan ($3.5 billion) in 2015 to 96.2 billion ($15.2 billion) yuan by 2020.

In our most recent BrandTrends Report (April 2019), we found that the three most used streaming platforms by children between the ages of 0-14 in China, were Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku

Children’s Top 3 Chinese Streaming Platforms

1. Tencent Video – 73% of children between the ages of 0-14 use Tencent Video for streaming. 

Tencent launched Tencent Video in 2011 in order to expand its live video streaming platform Tencent QQLive. Tencent isn’t only a platform for uploading and sharing videos, Tencent has also created original content. This content secured partnerships with the following providers – BBC Worldwide, ITV Studios, Fremantle Media, All3Media International, and Endemol UK. The platform aspires to be the largest provider of British video content in China. Its users can also benefit from the HBO shows and NBA games the platform has secured. 

Tencent Video hosts over 457 million MAUs as of last August according to QuestMobile, making it one of the top online streaming platforms in China. Tencent has also revealed that it has over 120 million subscribers who pay for premium content.

2. Baidu’s iQiyi – 69% of children between the ages of 0-14 use iQiyi for streaming. 

In 2010, Baidu launched iQiyi and was successful in securing content licensing deals with Lions Gate, Paramount, and surprisingly, Netflix. Since its launch, the platform was also able to acquire the rights to an array of South Korean films and established a partnership with Japanese owned, Fuji TV in order to produce a series of online dramas. In 2014, the company, Xiamo, invested $300 million in the company in order to aid the development of advanced streaming technology.

Baidu’s iQiyi controls just under 70% of children, between the ages of 0-14, streaming activities. The platform trails only slightly behind Tencent Video with approximately 455 million MAUs

In June 2019, it was found that iQiyi hosts over 100 million paid subscribers, which again, is only slightly behind Tencent Video’s subscriber base,

3. Alibaba’s Youku – 63% of children between the ages of 0-14 use Youku for streaming. 

Since becoming acquired by Alibaba in 2015, Youku, has become a rapidly growing streaming platform, despite remaining in third place in our BrandTrends report with 63% of kids between the ages 0-14 using the platform. The platform hosts 280 million MAUs and is growing each year. 

Whereas Tencent and Baidu’s video platforms are an extension of the companies core ecosystems, Youku isn’t currently connected to Alibaba’s e-commerce websites and apps. Despite being a smaller platform, with fewer distribution partners than Tencent Video and iQiyi, Youku expects to see its monthly subscribers reach 140 million by 2020.


Overall, it is clear that the streaming market in China is growing rapidly and is extremely popular amongst children between the ages of 0-14, in particular the platforms Tencent Video, iQiyi and Youku. A recent report carried out by Entgroup found that subscriptions to online video platforms have grown at a rate of 119% over the past few years. As more of China’s 800 million internet users adopt paid streaming subscriptions, the growth of the market is set to continue.

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