China's online live streaming platforms raised more than 10 billion yuan (.5b) in the first half of this year, with most of the financing flowing into top players, according to a report by 21st Century Business Herald.
The report, citing data released by China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), said an estimated 17 deals of financing, mergers and acquisitions were made by 16 online live streaming platforms in H1.
Eight of the 16 platforms finished their A round of financing in H1, raising more than 10 billion yuan in total.
Live.me, a live streaming app operated by Beijing-based Cheetah Mobile Inc, and Huya.com, a live stream platform based on the gaming community YY.com, raised million and million respectively in their A-round financing.
In addition, both the series B financing rounds of leading live streaming sites huajiao.com and PandaTV reached one billion yuan.
As most of the capital has flowed to the leading platforms, China's live streaming sector, which just took off at the start of last year, is becoming polarized, the report said.
The amount of live streaming platforms that operate normally plummeted by 60 percent to 116 from last year to this May.
Moreover, 97.5 percent of the total user duration was partitioned by the top 10 platforms, according to a report released by TrustData.
Huajiao.com, Inke and Yizhibo captured more than 80 percent of the time users spent on live streaming platforms.
"Investors will not inject money in small live streaming platforms, they favor mature platforms. At present, as the opportunities of overtaking have become slimmer in the sector, competitions among top players in products, operations and contents will be the next focus," an official of huajiao.com told 21st Century Business Herald.
The sector, although spurred by venture capital investment in the past, has to show its profitability to investors now.
Selling virtual gifts, membership, advertising, online retailing and cooperating with online games have become platforms' ways of cashing in.
As an example, a total of 490,000 performers working at huajiao.com earned 850 million yuan from viewers' rewards in H1, the highest in the sector, according to a report released by zhaihehe.com.
Besides commercial revenue, the live streaming platforms can also take a cut from performers' incomes.
After obtaining financing, major platforms have invested heavily in content.
"In gaming live streaming field, we plan to invest 100 million yuan in the introduction of games and supporting live streaming hosts of online games. And we will vigorously develop professional generated content," an official of huajiao.com said, 21st Century Business Herald reported.
In addition to building content, some platforms such as China's Momo and foreign market's Tinder and Houseparty, have found combining social networking with live streaming more lucrative, the report said.
However, even if they feel optimistic about the niche markets such as social networking and gaming, platforms still believe they need to build a one-stop platform to maximize the traffic and revenue.
"Currently, a one-stop comprehensive live streaming platform has yet to emerge in China's market, but it is necessarily the right path as long as you want to achieve success in internet industry," the official said.
According to a report by Huachuang Securities, China's live streaming sector is expected to be worth .9 billion by 2020.