A Comprehensive Guide to Bilibili Account Setup and Verification - Get On The Youtube of China

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 03:56
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As many platforms are blocked in China, once in a while you hear of a platform that is considered the Facebook/Twitter/Youtube/Quora of China. I noticed people have the tendency to compare Chinese platforms to their Western equivalents. I guess it is easier to understand them this way. 

I’ve heard some people call Youku the Youtube of China. Actually, back in 2015, when I first arrived in China, it was very common to make that comparison. But even then, I remember I used it mostly to watch TV dramas. Five years later, I consider Youku to be the Netflix of China, just with a more noticeable amount of user-generated content. 

So, what platform could replace Youtube in China? Tait created a guide to video platforms to use when hosting a video. But one platform, in particular, resembles Youtube more than others, mostly because of the community, some features and the pillar of user-generated content. Its name is Bilibili or B站.

To get a sense of what Bilibili is, check our video here:

 

What is Bilibili

Bilibili is not as widely used as Youtube. Overall, more than 70% of their users are under 30 years old; whereas, 35 year olds make up only 6%. According to iResearch, as of March 2019, 51.5% of users were male, and 48.4% were female. And you can see that the platform started as ACG (Anime Comics Games), and a lot of content still falls into this category. This means that you could probably spend weeks watching people play games, either in pre-recorded videos or live-streaming broadcasts. 

However, quoting one of our team members: “It’s not the video category that matters on Bilibili, but if the video is creative and interesting”. And to prove their point, they gave me two names: "Classmate He” who gained popularity for his vivid videos explaining 5G technology, and “Luo Xiang” for his videos on judicial examinations. On the whole, you can also see lots of vlogs, entertainment, music, and dance videos; and, you can also see people with VPNs reposting content from Youtube channels.

But there’s also the growing ‘education’ category. According to Bilibili’s 2019 reports, the number of education influencer accounts increased by 151%, and the broadcast volume went up by 274% year-on-year. The number of viewers of educational content exceeded 50 million, which is equivalent to five times the number of college entrance examinations taken in 2019.

Therefore, in June 2020, the platform launched a separate Knowledge Zone. It includes six categories: popular science, social science and humanities, finance, technology, school subjects and a professional workspace.

All in all, on Bilibili, you can learn middle school maths, as well as video editing, Japanese, economics and (probably) quantum science. Classes are organized into sections and are offered for free or as part of the pay-for-content plan. 

Bilibili is also a good choice for companies wanting to build brand recognition through educational video marketing. For example, Amazon China also published videos showing off their web services (AWS) and how to use them.

So, how do you get on Bilibili?

 

Account Registration on Bilibili

Similar to other Chinese platforms, accounts on Bilibili are set up with a phone number. You could use QQ or a 163 email address, but a phone number is more convenient. You will need a mobile phone number to accept a text message during the registration process, and later on, to log in.

Phone numbers from outside of mainland China are accepted. You can also login using your QQ or Weibo account and skip the registration process.

Note: the platform is only available in Chinese.

Bilibili account setup

 

Account Verification on Bilibili

First, you will need to log in to your account. For desktop devices, here’s the link: https://account.bilibili.com/account/home

Bilibili account verification

Similar to Douyin, Bilibili’s verification starts with Real Name Verification (实名认证). It means you have to prove to the platform that you’re a real human. Moreover, you have to prove to them exactly which human you are with your ID. To do this, you literally have to submit a picture of yourself holding your ID in front of you.

Submitting ID to Bilibili

However, Bilibili, unlike other platforms, allows everyone (not just Chinese nationals) to verify their accounts. For one of our projects, we verified an account with a Norwegian driving licence. If you do not happen to own one, here’s what you can use:

  • Mainland China ID card.
  • Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong and Macao Residents.
  • Taiwan Resident Pass.
  • Passport (issued in China).
  • Permanent residence permit for foreigners.
  • Identification issued by other countries or regions.

The identity verification will also require the verification of your phone number (the same you used for registration). Hopefully, within 24 hours after submission, the process will be completed.

Real name verification will not give you a “V” badge, however. It is your first step in order to get the “V”, but more importantly, it protects the platform and other users from fraud. On top of all this, it also gives you a couple of other benefits:

  • Live-streaming enabled.
  • Collecting experience points that lead to account upgrade.
  • Opening of a “Shell (贝壳)” account (more on Bilibili currencies below).
  • Joining Bilibili's Discipline Management Committee—that’s a very smart name for community moderators; you can gain up to 20 B coins/month and other rewards for that.

For influencers, companies and organizations who want to increase their credibility and ensure they are distinguishable from possible copycats, there are additional steps to be taken.

Account verification types for Bilibili

 

Influencer Verification on Bilibili

Once you hit 100,00 followers on Bilibili (easier said than done!), you’ll want to make your account more official and searchable. Why else would you need the verification badge? Some of the benefits are:

  1. Your content appears higher on the search result page, which means better exposure.
  2. You’re given priority for cooperation with partners.
  3. You gain access to Zhuanche (专车号), which is a kind of advertising account. For example, you can advertise your trending topic, or on a search result page.
  4. The platform will recommend your videos to other users.

If Bilibili is your primary platform, here is what you need in order to obtain the “UP” influencer badge (UP主认证):

  • Real Name Verification.
  • Verified phone number.
  • At least one published video.
  • At least 100K followers on Bilibili.
  • Passing your verification test (转正会员).

However, there’s one more way to go about it. If you happen to be an influencer with at least 500K followers on another Chinese platform, you can apply for Influencer Verification on Bilibili soon after you set up your account (身份认证). Here’s what you need:

  • A link to the external account.
  • Access to the phone number used to verify the account. 
  • Real Name verification (explained above).
  • Pass your verification test (转正会员).

And last but not least, there’s also a separate verification type for recognised content creators “专栏大V”. You need to fulfil two of the following requirements:

  • Have published at least 20 pieces of content (articles) within one Zone that received more than 100,000 views within six months.
  • Be highly influential and popular within one Zone.
  • One of your articles wins at a Bilibili content event.
  • Consistently produce high-quality content (assessed by Bilibili). Assessment criteria include content popularity, user interaction and more. 

 

The Verification test (only in Chinese) is an interesting feature I have only seen on Bilibili. To have your account running, you have to go through a series of 40 questions covering various areas. Without passing the test, you won’t be able to add comments, collect user experience points, etc. This vigorous process of testing and vetting means the community consists of credible members—setting a high standard and a level of expectation. You can take the test as soon as you finish your registration.

Verification Test on Bilibili
"What is a full English name for 'UP主': a) uploader; b) download?"

 

Business/Organisation Verification on Bilibili

Bilibili also offers a separate verification badge for organisations, businesses, media, and even schools. It also gives similar advantages to the influencer account:

  • Your content appears higher on the search results page, which means better exposure.
  • You’re given priority for cooperation with partners.
  • You gain access to Zhuanche (专车号), which is a kind of advertising account. For example, you can advertise your trending topic on a search results page.

Note that business verification is divided into mobile gaming companies and non-gaming companies, which is not surprising since games bring in most of the platform’s revenue.

But back to the topic!

 

Non-gaming companies

For now, businesses from the following regions are allowed: mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, USA. All requirements listed here in Chinese.

Here’s the required information for business verification:

  • Account’s name, which must be the company’s full name or shortened name within a ten character limit.
  • Full company name+”官方账号” (e.g. NMG官方账号)
    • Optional: explanation related to the company’s name.
  • Account moderator’s name, phone number and email.
  • Coloured scan of your business licence.
  • Sealed and signed authorisation letter (download from Bilibili or here - in Chinese).
  • “Unified social credit code (统一社会信用代码)” for mainland Chinese businesses, and business registration number for non-mainland businesses.

There is also optional information you can submit to improve your chances of having the business account verified:

  • Tax number.
  • Trademark registration.
  • Screenshots of the backend management of your business’ other accounts, such as Youtube, Weibo, and WeChat.
  • Business licence verification from your country’s embassy in China.
  • Any permits related to food safety, cosmetics safety, software admission, Mainland’s ICP licence, etc. 

However, if for any reason you cannot get through the document submission stage on Bilibili (most likely because you’re outside of China or the mobile phone number is not accepted), you can email the documents to rz@bilibili.com.

The verification has to be renewed yearly. The following items have to be in order for the renewal:

  • Business licence (to check it hasn’t expired).
  • The main content published throughout the year has to be related to the company’s business scope.
  • New content published at least three months prior to renewal.
  • All the related admissions and permits in order.

 

Gaming companies and developers

If you’re a mobile game developer or a company and you want to partner with Bilibili, here’s where you must head for account verification: http://open.biligame.com/#/register/choose-type

Gaming companies and developers on Bilibili

On top of all the information and documentation for a regular business application; gaming companies must also submit:

  • Official representative name, phone number, email address and ID number.
  • Photograph of the ID.
  • Invoicing information (standard for mainland China):
    • Company registration address.
    • Legal representative (same as on the business licence).
    • The ID of the legal representative (number and photo).
    • Address for the invoice.
    • Banking information:
      • Name of the bank.
      • Account setup region and bank branch.
      • Account number.
      • Account setup licence.
    • Type of invoice.
    • Tax number.

 

Media

Another type of verification is reserved for both new and traditional media outlets and their representatives. The application takes 15 days and requires:

  • Full name+”官方账号” (e.g. NMG官方账号).
  • Moderator’s name, phone number and email address.
  • Business licence or institution certification.
  • “Unified social credit code (统一社会信用代码)” for mainland Chinese businesses, and business registration number for non-mainland businesses.
  • Media’s name.
  • Nominal capital.
  • Sealed and signed authorisation letter (download from Bilibili or here - in Chinese).

 

Bilibili’s Currencies: B Coins and Shells

A few words on B Coins (硬币), Bilibili’s own digital currency. It’s the only means of exchange on the platform, whether you want to tip your favourite content creator (it’s a regular thing in China), or upgrade your account. You’ll also need B Coins if you want to change your nickname, participate in the platform’s activities, and more. 

Shells (贝壳) are the currency used by influencers and other content creators. They can come in the form of gifts and tips from other users, live-streaming tips, and event participation, etc. Shells can be exchanged into Chinese Yuan and withdrawn to your bank card.  

To open a Shell account, you will need:

  • Verification of a phone number.
  • Real Name verification.
  • Completed Shell account application.

Unlike Shells, B Coins cannot be exchanged for CNY. Once you charge your B Coin account with a UnionPay card or Alipay (1 CNY=1 B Coin), all you can do is spend the coins on the platform.

Additionally, if you’re a paid member of Bilibili, you get five extra B Coins every month. 

 

Experience points 

The coins can only be accumulated once you reach the first experience level. To do that, you will need to pass the verification test. 

Additionally, you can gain experience points and B Coins for actions such as

  • daily logins,
  • daily broadcasting of videos,
  • daily sharing of videos, 
  • connecting your phone number and/or email address,
  • setting up a secure password, and
  • account verification.

 

I hope this clears things up a bit. But, if you have any questions, make sure to leave me a comment!

 

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