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Wen / LV Yue
Source: deep echo
With the news of blued’s parent company, bluecity brothers, submitting the prospectus, a unicorn in the field of vertical community began to enter the public view from the capital circle.
People outside the circle may not know much about this app, but only from the words “the largest in China”, blued’s achievements in the domestic and even global LGBTQ community market are “remarkable”. To be sure, blued’s submission of the prospectus not only shows great value in the vertical field, but also plays a positive role in promoting the social cognition of sexual minorities.
Blued of “through cycle”
Thanks to a more open culture, social platforms for LGBTQ groups first appeared in Europe and the United States. Among them, Grindr, which was launched in 2009, was the first online platform. Driven by Grindr, new products such as Jack’d and scruff appeared in 2010. The domestic blued was launched in 2012, and officially opened the international layout in 2015. It is also an early product in this field, so it has a certain first mover advantage.
Grindr was acquired by Kunlun world wide in 2016, and the IPO plan was announced in 2019. At this time, blue d also announced that it was going to prepare to land in the US stock market. The global LGBTQ crowd competition has become a competition of Chinese players for a while, both inside and outside the industry are waiting to see who will become the first share in the industry.
But this year, the industry structure has changed again. In March, Zhou Yahui was forced to sell Grindr, disrupting the listing plan. Blued submitted the prospectus three months later, and there’s no doubt that blued has come first.
The predecessor of blued is the light blue network founded in 2000. In 2012, the mobile Internet developed rapidly. The light blue network changed from forum to mobile application blued, and successfully entered the mobile Internet era from the PC era. In the next few years, blued has been stable and successfully obtained multiple rounds of financing. In 2016, blued stepped on the mobile live channel to launch the live broadcast business, which has become the strongest pillar of revenue, and blued has successfully entered the stage of commercialization.
Light blue Homepage
In 2015, blued began to move from domestic market to overseas market, initially started from Southeast Asia, and then gradually covered the whole Asian region. Geng Le also confidently said in the interview that “we should take the lead in the Asian market and become the local No.1”. Since 2018, blued has gone out of Asia.
It can be seen that no matter from PC transformation and mobile, or from local to international, blued has stepped on every opportunity of transformation and upgrading in the past 20 years, and has been able to “go through the cycle” under the environment of gradual downfall of similar products and constantly changing policies.
Blued, which has become a unicorn in the vertical field, has built a solid barrier for itself.
First of all, blued’s first mover advantage should not be underestimated. Because LGBTQ people have small social circle and few optional applications, they will have strong stickiness to the products they have started to use, which makes it very important for them to have the first mover advantage in the same-sex social field. Early entry and continuous improvement of products can often form barriers.
Secondly, blued currently has multiple services, such as live broadcast, social networking, medical and health services, with the ability to integrate multiple services and provide solutions. For early entrants, diversified business layout can meet users’ various needs, including social, entertainment, shopping and medical care, which makes users more sticky to the product, with higher frequency, duration and user retention rate.
Source: Company prospectus
In addition, blued has been engaged in public welfare projects since its inception, which is also one of the characteristics that can not be ignored in its rapid development process.
In 2008, Blue City brothers, the parent company of blued, established an independent public welfare brand “light blue public welfare”, which covers HIV testing and consultation, care for the infected, Internet intervention, etc.; later, in 2011, it established “light blue happiness testing room”, which opened monitoring points in many cities across the country, providing free HIV testing and consultation services. Blued has cooperated with governments, communities, organizations and international institutions at all levels to make use of the advantages of the Internet in HIV prevention and control, which has achieved considerable social benefits and fully reflected the corporate social responsibility. Blued has also been widely recognized by mainstream media at home and abroad.
As a whole, blued has built its competitive advantage in the vertical field, and the Matthew effect of the Internet determines that blued will further accompany the growth of the vertical population, provide “full life cycle services” for LGBTQ groups, and enjoy more dividends.
The data disclosed in the prospectus is the best proof of blued’s achievements: at present, blued has more than 49 million registered users in more than 210 countries and regions around the world, with an average monthly activity of 6 million in the second quarter of 2020, and the proportion of overseas monthly active users has reached more than 49%.
At the same time, blued’s average monthly life is six times the second in the same industry, and its average daily life is nearly seven times the second in the same industry in China. In India, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam, blued is also the largest online LGBTQ community in the region.
In addition, according to Frost & Sullivan report data, in 2019, blued’s active users stay for more than 60 minutes every day on average, and the average number of open times per day for active users is more than 16. The average retention rate of active users for the next month is 71.0%. The arppu of live service business is 2059 yuan, which is enough to see its strong user stickiness and payment ability.
Source: Company prospectus
Blued’s imagination space
At present, Blue City brothers’ revenue sources mainly include live broadcast, membership, advertising and other services. Other service sectors include sales and services related to health care and family planning. According to the prospectus:
In 2018 and 2019, blued’s live broadcast revenue was 460 million yuan and 670 million yuan respectively, accounting for 91.3% and 88.5% of the total revenue respectively. In the first quarter of 2020, the live broadcast revenue was 180 million yuan, an increase of 31.9% over the same period last year;
In 2018 and 2019, blued’s member service revenue was 4.717 million yuan and 36.738 million yuan, respectively, accounting for 0.9% and 4.8% of the total revenue. In the first quarter of 2020, the member service revenue was 15.013 million yuan, an increase of 390.6% year on year;
In 2018 and 2019, blued’s advertising service revenue was 32.92 million yuan and 35.384 million yuan, respectively, accounting for 6.6% and 4.7% of the total revenue. In the first quarter of 2020, the advertising service revenue was 5.596 million yuan, up 13.1% year on year;
In 2018 and 2019, blued’s other service revenue was 5.877 million yuan and 15.355 million yuan, respectively, accounting for 1.2% and 2.0% of the total revenue. In the first quarter of 2020, blued’s other service revenue was 7.221 million yuan, up 560.1% year on year.
From the above data, it can be seen clearly that the live service is blued’s largest revenue source at present, accounting for more than 80%. Meanwhile, the growth of member services and other service businesses is obvious.
The large proportion of live broadcast business brings some doubts to blued, but from the information disclosed in the prospectus, more hidden information is worthy of attention.
First of all, from the composition of revenue, it can be seen that the proportion of blued’s live broadcast business revenue is on the decline, while the two sectors of member services and other services are growing by 678.8% and 161.2% year-on-year respectively in 2019, with a very significant increase in revenue.
In other businesses, the sales and services related to health care and family planning are of particular concern.
Thanks to more than ten years of in-depth participation in HIV prevention and testing, blue city brother has gradually formed a unique advantage in the sales and services of medical health, family planning and other related commodities for LGBTQ population. In 2019, blue city brother launched an independent health service brand “hor health”, which provides anti HIV related drugs and advisory services for LGBTQ population, as well as related to male health Other services.
According to the official data of Blue City brothers, the total transaction volume of health-related services has increased by more than 150% from April 2019 to March 2020. With the increasing recognition of this group in the society, the “full life cycle” service provided by blued will have more growth space in the future and may become a new growth point.
Source: hor health official website
In terms of total revenue, blued showed a growth trend: it was RMB 759 million in 2019, an increase of 51.4% compared with 2018; in the first quarter of 2020, the total revenue was RMB 210 million, an increase of 42.8% year on year.
The overall revenue structure of Blued is diversified and tends to be balanced.
At the same time, LGBTQ people have a strong willingness to pay. In the first quarter of this year, blued’s paid users of live service increased by 29.9% year-on-year, and the arppu of live service business reached 2059 yuan, up 61% year-on-year. The high willingness of users to pay for the continuous growth of its business can be seen.
Under the background that live broadcasting has been able to play a supporting role, the company will also have more funds to strengthen community operation and research and development of new technologies and functions, so as to generate revenue from other business sectors.
Therefore, if blued is placed in the whole social industry, its business composition is very similar to that of stranger.
In 2016, Momo also caught up with the players in the live broadcast outlet, relying on the huge traffic accumulated by social interaction, making the live broadcast become the “second curve” of Momo, and therefore maintain a stable profit state. At present, the value-added business of Momo’s members is also in a steady rising state, and its live broadcast business revenue accounts for 70%, which is still its pillar business.
Like Momo, blued’s member services business and other businesses still have a large growth space.
For blued, LGBTQ people have strong stickiness and willingness to pay for the platform. When the platform focuses more on developing new technologies and functions, improving user experience and community operation, users will be more dependent on products, and services covering social, entertainment and other aspects will further improve users’ ability to pay.
In addition, the Asian market is blued’s current main market. With the continuous expansion of overseas markets in Europe and the United States, blued’s income in overseas business has a lot of room for expansion.
Overall, the “pink economy” that supports blued’s development has a huge imagination space.
According to Sullivan’s statistics and analysis, by 2018, the number of LGBTQ groups in the world has exceeded 450 million, and the number of LGBTQ groups in Asia is about 300 million. From 2014 to 2018, the proportion of LGBTQ group in the 18-24 and 25-34 age groups increased by 0.7% and 0.4% respectively, significantly higher than other age groups. At the same time, compared with the general population, LGBTQ group has a higher proportion of people with higher education, which also shows that more people with higher education and young people have a higher recognition of their sexual orientation, and this group is just the main consumer.
Source: Sullivan Institute
The pink economy has become a “gold mine” because of less family expenses, desire for social identity and gradually mainstream consumer culture. Blued is at the entrance of the gold mine. After accelerating the pace of overseas expansion and winning the title of “first share” in the future, whether we can see a unicorn that can be expected to grow rapidly is worthy of continuous attention both inside and outside the industry.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s point of view.)