Here's one way to think about Bilibili
If you liked Zynga and King Digital, you will love Bilibili. Singular hit game titles: Zynga had FarmVille. King Digital had Candy Crush Saga. Bilibili has Fate/Grand Order. Grand mission statements that obfuscate the hit-driven nature of the business: Zynga’s mission as stated in its IPO prospectus was: "We founded Zynga in 2007 with the mission of connecting the world through games. We believed play—like search, share and shop—would become one of the core activities on the internet." King Digital’s mission as stated in its IPO prospectus was: "Our mission is to provide highly engaging content to our audience to match their mobile lifestyles: anywhere, anytime and on any device. Our players always come first. We believe this approach is the most effective way of creating lasting value for our stakeholders." Bilibili’s mission as stated in its draft IPO prospectus is: "We enrich the everyday life of young generations in China." Claims that “technology” makes the hits repeatable: Zynga’s articulation of its secret sauce was in part: "Sophisticated Data Analytics. The extensive engagement of our players provides over 15 terabytes of game data per day that we use to enhance our games by designing, testing and releasing new features on an ongoing basis." King Digital’s articulation of its secret sauce was in part: "We have developed a repeatable and scalable process for bringing successful mobile and social titles to a global audience quickly and cost effectively, while minimizing business risk. We believe our model is fundamentally differentiated from competitors, will be challenging to replicate and strengthens our ability to deliver business predictability and sustainability." Bilibili’s articulation of its secret sauce is in part: "Artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence, or AI, is particularly suitable for reviewing and screening content by recognizing and analyzing patterns and connections. The massive volume of data collected on our platform every day also enables us to enhance our AI technology and increase its accuracy. As the varieties and quantity of content and user interactions continue to increase, AI capabilities are critical for us to control our operating costs and enhance user experience.Big data analytics. We utilize big data analytics to create an interest profile for each user account based on user's actions such as post, bullet chatting, comment, like and follow, and demographic data such as age, gender and geography. Combined with our AI capabilities, our interest profile allows us to personalize user interface and push content to our users that they are more likely to find interesting and relevant.”
Lousy precedents for shareholder outcomes:
Zynga went public at $10 per share and now trades at $3.80 per share more than 7 years later.
King Digital went public at $22.50 per share and was sold to Activision Blizzard for $18 per share less than 18 months later.
Bilibili seeks to go public between $10.50 and $12.50 per share this week.
Perhaps this time it will be different, but it’s not obvious why that would be true.