It is absolutely unthinkable now to even imagine living without your phone and the internet, and being unable to connect with your friends and family around the world. The availability of user-friendly apps and the ubiquity of smartphones, allows everyone to seamlessly connect with users across the world via video or voice, and even broadcast their content online in real-time. It’s easy to see why these platforms that promote videos and live streams are, and continue to be popular.
Video sharing and livestreaming were already on a steady rise at the beginning of 2020 with a projection of 82% of all Internet traffic, but following the uncertainties the year brought, there was significant growth far beyond these projected usage statistics.
During the past year though, BIGO Technology (BIGO) – headquartered in Singapore – was one such company that was able to have a breakout year. Here in the MENA region, Bigo Live, a live streaming platform developed by BIGO Technology, reported that it now had around 5 million monthly active users (MAUs) just in the Middle East & North Africa region alone.
Since its debut in 2016, BIGO was able to incur exponential growth securing over 400 million users and opening over 30 offices across the world. Since then, there has been an average increase of 25% in global app downloads over each year, with the most popular categories of streams being chat, music and singing. In parts of the Middle East, app downloads have a significant increase of up to 237% compared to 2019. Globally, users are spending 43 minutes a day watching livestreams on average, with some BIGO broadcasters in the MENA region having up to a whopping 15 million fans.
On being asked how the company was able to achieve such immense growth over the past four years, a spokesperson from BIGO stated that they believed ‘Localization is Globalization’.
“We are determined to become one of the leading internet companies in the world and we have set the foundation to make this vision a reality,” said a spokesperson from BIGO. “To facilitate this pace of growth, we knew we had to bridge the gap between local markets and the global internet industry. Over the past four years we set up offices across the world and began recruiting local talents who have local expertise, since they are able to relate to the country which they are based in along with the national laws, cultural norms, rules and regulations. This enabled us to get a better understanding of local markets and customize our approach to meet each country’s unique requirements.”
This approach proved to be quite beneficial to BIGO. In a short span of time, the company has obtained tens of thousands of broadcasters, creators and partners around the globe. By providing them with a variety of incentives and empowering them, BIGO successfully encouraged them to join the BIGO global community.
One of the reasons for the company’s success in the region is due to its ability to identify trends and create opportunities for promising talents. A great example of this would be the company’s commitment to Esports and gamers in the region, which is why it launched the first edition of the BIGOFUN Esports tournament for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in October 2020.
“The popularity of Esports and gaming in general across the MENA region is quite exceptional,” said the spokesperson from BIGO. “In fact, Bigo Live expects to have over 2,000 Esports competitors that consists of both amateurs and professionals to compete per season for the BIGOFUN Esports series, which makes this an exceptional opportunity for users to both hone their skills as well as get discovered which could result in better opportunities for them both personally and professionally.”
“We are determined to give people the opportunity to share their talent with the world, to bring joy and value to those that follow and connect with them,” continued the BIGO spokesperson. “Besides, we also see the value of giving back and we believe that it is our responsibility to support those who are in need, which is why we participated in several global initiatives that supported those affected by COVID-19 over the past few months.”
Within the MENA region, BIGO promoted in-app awareness and education on COVID-19 and the proper safety measures and restrictions to keep users and their loved ones safe and healthy. As well, BIGO took the initiative to donate over 5,000 masks and 25,000 medical surgical masks to Jordan in a stance to support the country, and combat the pandemic with them.
In other regions of the world, as part of their ‘Global BIGOer One World Together' campaign, BIGO raised a total of $100,000 in donations for goodwill. The amount raised was donated to the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Response Fund, as part of global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The event itself included BIGO Live’s music livehouse, where close to 100 broadcasters performed, and had over 3.7 million viewers in attendance.
BIGO’s achievements during 2020 have far surpassed all expectations and as such on 21 January 2021, BIGO will host their annual Awards Gala at 8pm (GTM+8) on 21st January 2021, on their Music Livehouse (Bigo ID: music), to celebrate the efforts of broadcasters, staff and every member of the global BIGO family. It will light up some of the world’s most popular landmarks that include Times Square in New York, USA and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE, just to name a few with the intention to invite and introduce people to an organization that is committed to bring joy to everyone and connect the world.
2021 will prove to be yet another year to accelerate the realization of BIGO’s vision and mission and take it one step further to become more mainstream and ‘phenomenal.’
When asked about the strategy for the following year, the spokesperson from BIGO stated that, “BIGO will incrementally venture into a variety of pan-entertainment sectors to help elevate the popularity of broadcasters and make them celebrities in their own right, both within and out of the app.”
Given everything we know about the evolution of communications: the future is video; the future is livestream; the future is BIGO.
TechRadar Middle East has created this content as part of a paid partnership with BIGO.