– WIMI challenges with market-leading IPO for China’s Y455 billion AR technology market
WiMi Hologram Cloud, Inc, the largest holographic AR application platform in China, filed with the U.S. SEC on June 27 for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Global Market, trading as ‘WIMI’. As explained in the SEC prospectus, WIMI has developed an innovative business model with fundamental strengths that position it for continued leadership.
As holography and AR continue to proliferate, China’s holographic AR market is fast-growing and rapidly evolving. According to Frost & Sullivan, who prepared an industry report dated June 18, 2019 commissioned by WIMI to conduct the analysis, the total market size of China’s holographic AR industry in terms of total revenues is expected to grow from RMB 3.6 billion ($0.52 billion) in 2017 to RMB 454.8 billion ($65 billion) in 2025.
I. WIMI’s annual revenue and net income
As detailed in the prospectus, WIMI reported an annual net income of RMB 89 million ($12.9 million) for the full financial year 2018, an increase of 21.7% from the RMB 73 million ($10.6 million) recorded in 2017, and an annual revenue of RMB 225 million ($32.8 million), an increase of 17.3% on the year before. For the three months ended March 31, 2019, WIMI reported net income of RMB 37 million ($5.5 million), an increase of 68.7%, and revenue of RMB 78 million ($11.3 million), which was 59.5% improved over the same period in 2018.
We see from a study of the prospectus that WIMI’s financial performance is developing each year with revenue increasing continually from 2017 through 2019. It is shown through feedback from the market that WIMI’s business revenue has been increasing, and the market development has been expanding.
II. Holographic AR advertising and AR entertainment: WIMI’s market is fast-growing and evolving
Today, AR applications have been mainly adopted by the entertainment and advertisement industries, which have a relatively mature hardware environment and thus facilitate the development of software and content in these fields. In the long run, there will also be applications in education, social network and communication fields though currently such applications are still limited by hardware technologies.
The entertainment industry was the first to enjoy the application of holographic AR. From the holograms of TuPac, Hatsune Miku, and late singer Teresa Deng to the heat of Pokemon Go, AR gaming, hologram live concerts and streaming fashion shows, the markets have genuinely embraced holographic AR.
The market size of China’s holographic AR applied in ‘Entertainment’ recorded revenue of RMB 0.6 billion in 2016, and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 83.5% from 2016 to 2020 and 92.8% from 2020 to 2025, reaching RMB180.0 billion ($260 million) by 2025. The growth is attributed to the increasing popularity of entertainment broadcast programs, especially live broadcast programs, including ceremonies, concerts, gala and sport events, where AR is greatly potentiated. The accessibility of live broadcast, livestream brought by smartphone and other portable digital devices also contributes to growth.
Holographic AR in advertisement has two types: volumetric and online app. Snapchat and Instagram,for example, have developed AR filter-styled advertisements, featuring fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) & cosmetic products. Another type of advertisement is a “plug-in” advertisement during TV programming through manually adding computer generated 3D images to original scenes to promote products.
The market size of China’s holographic AR applied in ‘Advertisement’ recorded revenue of RMB 0.9 billion in 2016, and it is expected to increase at a CAGR of 71.8% from 2016 to 2020 and 78.9% from 2020 to 2025, reaching RMB143.9 billion ($20.9 million) by 2025. The growth is mostly driven by the prosperity of advertisement sector and the new retail business. As the advertisers are always pursuing the most cutting-edge visual effects to attract customers, the AR application in advertisement can be considered keeping evolving to be more diversified.
Volumetric display will take certain shares of offline advertisement display, as volumetric display has more astonishing effect compared to traditional, therefore can be vastly applied in retail store. Sponsored filters inside social network apps will rise due to the boom of short video apps in China. In the long run, holographic AR advertisement will be more interactive, and volumetric display will keep taking more share and come in larger sized projection. Also, advertisers’ interaction with custumers without head mounted devices and other electronics may be achieved.
III. Revenue from AR advertising services and AR entertainment will grow continuously
WIMI’s revenue includes ‘AR advertising services’ and ‘AR entertainment’. ‘AR advertising services’ use holographic materials which are embedded in advertisements on online media platforms or offline displays. Income is generated for WiMi Hologram as it delivers services according to specific terms of its contracts. The terms are usually based on the specific actions which display online, namely Cost Per Impression (‘CPM’) or Cost Per Action (‘CPA’), as well as the duration of the service of the contract displayed offline.
Revenue from ‘AR entertainment’ derives from a software development kit (‘SDK’), paid-channel services, software development, mobile game services and technology development. When a user completes a payment transaction via SDK, WIMI gains related income after deducting payments to the content provider.
As a matter of fact, the real label for WIMI Hologram should be user operation. The so-called user operation is that it is divided into two dimensions: absorbing new users and old users repurchase. From the IPO prospectus, it can be seen that WIMI shows high ability in both dimensions.
Due to the change of bandwidth in 5G communication networks, high-end holographic applications have gradually developed into social media, communication, navigation, home application and other applications. Our plan is to provide holographic clouding platform services through 5G communication networks based on two core technologies: holographic AI facial recognition technology and holographic AI facial change technology.
The IPO prospectus demonstrates that the services of WiMi Hologram will be profoundly comingled with 5G. With the compliance of 5G with high rate and low delay, it makes the average transmission delay is about 6ms in terms of remote communication, data transmission as well as from system terminal to service server, which is much lower than 4G network transmission delay. It truly ensures the richness and diversity of holographic AR remote communication and data transmission without stuttering and low delay, and the richness and diversity of interaction in term of multi-terminal cooperation in different places. It makes the collaboration of port + cloud collaboration more efficient.
Based on 5G AI face recognition technology and holographic AI DeepFake technology, the application of the enhanced mobile broadband (EMBB) and Internet of things (IOT) has made plenty of holographic services for WIMI to achieve with effective growth, such as holographic AR advertising business, holographic AR entertainment business, holographic interactive entertainment, holographic conference, holographic social contact, holographic communication, holographic home hologram and so on.
1: Global Holographic AR Market Size by Revenue, 2016-2025E [https://bit.ly/2J03joK] [Frost & Sullivan]
Hardware refers to revenue from AR rendering equipment, such as AR glasses and AR helmets, and holographic imaging equipment, such as holographic projectors, holographic cabinets, holographic advertising machines and so on. Software and content refer to revenue from companies that provide AR, holographic content, ARSDK, or technical services. (Source: Frost & Sullivan)
2: Breakdown of China’s AR Industry Market Size, Entertainment, 2016-2025E [https://bit.ly/2ZZIxLr] [Frost & Sullivan]
3: Breakdown of China’s AR Industry Market Size, Advertisement, 2016-2025E [https://bit.ly/2J3KuRz] [Frost & Sullivan]