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    Math, Space, and Home Renovations: Bilibili’s Top Channels of 2023

    When did advanced mathematics become so cool?

    Major video streaming platform Bilibili, the Chinese equivalent of YouTube, announced its top 100 content creators in 2023 last week. The site has continued its trend of honoring its most “professional” and “innovative” channels, which began in 2021, instead of its most popular channels by subscriber count or views.

    Hugely popular among Chinese millennials and Gen Z, Bilibili boasts 103 million average daily active users and 4.7 billion average daily views.

    The site has been embroiled in a longstanding dispute with its content creators, who have accused it of cutting their earnings over the years. Last April, several content creators stopped uploading videos in protest.

    In the third quarter of 2023, the number of content creators earning revenue through the site increased more than 160% year on year.

    Below are some of Bilibili’s top content creators of the year.

    Most popular: Mediastorm

    For the fifth year running, vlogger “Mediastorm” was named as a top creator and received this year’s award for the most popular channel. (Bilibili does not reveal how it determines this.) 

    With 7.57 million subscribers, the tech culture and product review channel is run by Pan Tianhong, a film graduate from the University of Kent in the United Kingdom. The channel’s most viewed video in 2023, with more than 9.74 million views, saw Pan buy a Chinese produced satellite, fit it with a panoramic camera, and launch it into space, delivering stunning footage of the universe and Earth.

    Longest viewing time: Professor Song Hao

    Song Hao, an associate professor at the Shandong University of Finance and Economics, is an unlikely candidate for one of China’s top content creators. But a closer look at his math videos reveals him to be an engaging instructor, guiding his close to 7.2 million subscribers through advanced mathematics questions.

    The associate professor makes his debut on Bilibili’s top 100 list this year, having clocked the most viewing time among all content creators in 2023. (Bilibili did not disclose the exact viewing time.)

    Song is known for incorporating humor and examples from daily life into his teaching, with his lessons on advanced mathematics accumulating 140 million views — a number that would take him 100 years to reach if he only taught offline.

    Song has been uploading videos since 2016, after his students convinced him to upload their class content to Bilibili. Since then, he has become an “internet celebrity” on campus, with many students fighting for a seat in his live lectures.

    “Because of Song Hao, mathematics has become a fun thing that can be broken into pieces and even explained using comedy techniques,” the platform said in its award for the professor.

    Most business-savvy: Mr. Mideng

    MrMideng,” also known as the “light of the home renovations industry,” was named business influencer of the year for his videos offering advice on DIY and home renovations, such as how to choose high-quality building materials and furniture.

    During last year’s lackluster Double Eleven online shopping festival, MrMideng’s livestreaming sales saw sales of 1.68 billion yuan ($240 million) across all platforms, an increase of more than 400% year on year.

    The creator was first honored on Bilibili’s top 100 list for 2022, and now has more than 1.74 million subscribers. In an interview with domestic media, MrMideng said he originally worked in the offline renovations industry but was inspired to switch to vlogging on Bilibili after seeing many people move to online shopping during the pandemic.

    Editor: Vincent Chow.

    (Header image: The trophies awarded to Bilibili’s top 100 content creators in 2023. From Weibo)