2021 China’s Online Audio Industry Report

Source:iResearchJanuary 06,20226:52 PM Overview

Industry chain: Content providers and tools such as audiobooks, podcasts, and audio livestreaming have different characteristics. In the audio distribution area, integrated audio platforms still compete with each other. Companies from the music and reading sectors are entering the market. and a number of companies that focus on specific audio categories have emerged. Smart hardware and offline scenario providers are also cooperating with audio companies.

Typical categories of online audio products: The audiobook market size is 5 billion yuan. The number of Chinese podcasts has been surging in recent years. Chinese podcasts are searching for profit models of advertising. Native customized podcast programs and branded podcasts are worthy of attention. The size of the audio livestreaming market has hit 4.33 billion yuan. With its prominent social attribute, audio livestreaming can develop towards the combination of audio games and audio social networking.

Development trend: Commercial audiobook dubbing and private audiobook dubbing complement each other. Podcast agencies have been established and keep developing. The form of audio livestreaming is combined with various elements, presenting a situation full of variety.

Market Size

The industry is developing rapidly and its market size has hit 12.3 billion yuan.

China's online audio industry is developing rapidly. Its market size hit 12.3 billion yuan in 2020 and is expected to exceed 30 billion yuan in 2023. The fast development of the industry is mainly because of the rapidly growing paying users, increasing listening scenarios, and the popularity of audiobook/radio drama, Podcast and audio livestreaming.

China's Online Audio Industry Map 

China's Online Audio Industry Chain 

Investment and Financing

Smaller investment and financing scale and a new round of development.

The number and scale of financing in the audio industry peaked in 2018, and decreased significantly in 2019 and 2020. The head effect in the online audio industry is obvious. Two of the three head audio platforms have started IPO. LIZHI was listed on NASDAQ in January 2020. Ximalaya, which has the most monthly acitve users, filed for listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in September 2021. Qingting FM received nearly hundreds of millions yuan of strategic investment. Lianren Tingshu was renamed Lianren Changting and was acquired by Tencent Music Entertainment Group. Online audio products represented by audiobooks, Podcast and audio livestreaming are increasingly widely known and used. Although the supporting companies of these categories are still in initial development period, the development of these categories and the diversified listening scenarios will bring new development opportunities for the entire industry.

Content Sources/Tools: Audio Guilds

Support audio streamers and develop various audio livestreaming content areas

Audio guilds, which recruit and train audio streamers, have also grown. The development of audio guilds is closely related to the growing number of audio enthusiasts. Audio guilds usually search and recruit audio livestreaming talents. Similar to short video and video livestreaming MCNs, audio guilds mainly train audio streamers and help them access commercial resources. A large part of the audio streamers' income from tips and advertising fees during livestreaming will be shared with audio guilds.

Audio Distribution Platform: Integrated Audio Platform 

Judging from the competitive landscape of integrated audio platforms, Ximalaya, Qingting FM and LIZHIare the three head online audio platforms. From early 2020 to middle 2021, influenced by some emerging integrated audio platforms, although the number of monthly unique devices of head online audio platforms has changed, the top three players still account for 75%-85% of the market share. From the perspective of revenue structure, the main revenue source of Ximalaya and Qingting FM, which focus on PGC+PUGC, are membership and subscription fees. LIZHI’s revenue is mainly from users’ tipping. Charging users has gradually become one of the main revenue sources of integrated audio platforms.

Audio Livestreaming  

Expanding audio livestreaming possibilities using a variety of tools

Compared to video livestreaming, audio livestreaming attaches more importance to social attributes and companionship.  Video livestreaming has been combined with many other elements to form enterprise livestreaming, game livestreaming, and other categories. Audio livestreaming concomitant and emotional features. The various forms, such as the rising video chatting, the gradually shaping audio games, and the non-mainstream AMSR, indicate that audio livestreaming will have many possibilities in the future.

Table of Contents of the Full Report


1 Overview of China's Online Audio Industry
1.1 Definition: Online Audio
1.2 China's Online Audio Industry Map
1.3 China's Online Audio Industry Chain
1.4 Investment and Financing

2 China's Online Audio Industry Chain
2.1 Content Source/Tool: Audio Guilds
2.2 Content Source/Tool: audio streamer
2.3 Content Source/Tool: Podcast label /Personal
2.4 Content Source/Tool: Audiobook Producer
2.5 Content Source/Tool: Podcast hosting platform
2.6 Audio distribution platform: Integrated audio platform
2.7 Audio distribution platform: Music streaming platform
2.8 Audio distribution platform: Digital Reading Platform
2.9 Audio distribution platform: Pan-Podcast Platform
2.10 Audio distribution platform: Audio Livestreaming Social Platform
2.11 Listening Hardware/Scenario Provider: Offline Life Scenarios
2.12 Listening Hardware/Scenario Provider: Smart Speaker Developer

3 Analysis of Typical Online Audio Products in China
3.1 Audiobook: Development History
3.2 Audiobook: Market Size
3.3 Audiobook: Advantages
3.4 Audiobook: Three Models
3.5 Audiobook: radio drama
3.6 Audiobook: Users’ Content Demand

3.7 Audiobook: Users’ Listening Behavior

3.8 Podcast: User Scale
3.9 Podcast: Categories
3.10 Podcast: Talk Program
3.11 Podcast: Story Program
3.12 Podcast: Business Model
3.13 Podcast: Podcast Advertising
3.14 Podcast: Podcast Advertising
3.15 Audio livestreaming: Market Size
3.16 Audio livestreaming: Market Size
3.17 Audio livestreaming: Audio livestreaming  APP
3.18 Audio livestreaming: Voice Interaction
3.19 Audio livestreaming: Audio Livestreaming Game
3.20 Audio livestreaming: Users’ Content Demand
3.21 Audio livestreaming: Users’ Listening Behavior

4 Analysis of Typical Online Audio Companies in China

4.1 Integrated Audio Company: Ximalaya
4.2 Integrated Audio Company: Ximalaya
4.3 Integrated Audio Company: Qingting FM
4.4 Integrated Audio Company: Qingting FM
4.5 Vertical Audio Companies: Sure
4.6 Vertical Audio Companies: Sure

5 Development Trends in China’s Online Audio Industry
5.1 Audiobook
5.2 Podcast
5.3 Audio livestreaming 


Industry overview: The size of China’s online audio industry has reached 12.3 billion yuan and it is still growing fast. The industry remains promising thanks to the development of audio services represented by audiobooks, podcasts and live audio streaming.

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