15 years of YouTube in APAC
Do you remember what life was like 15 years ago? I remember watching my favorite shows and news on TV, listening to music with an MP3 player, looking for classes to learn new things, sifting through manual books, calling all sorts of experts to find out how to solve household problems, and connecting with people with similar interests. I still do every one of them, but now I do them all on YouTube.
That’s because 15 years ago on June 19, 2007, we launched our first localized version of YouTube in APAC. Since then, creators around APAC have pushed the boundaries on creativity to create new trends that share their art, culture, food — and they’ve grown their businesses and audiences on YouTube while doing it. So what did this past decade and a half bring?
15 years of innovation
Since we landed in APAC in 2007, we introduced the YouTube Partner Program in APAC. This allowed creators to be rewarded for their work, all while dancing our way to the first video to hit 1 billion views. We also hosted the first offline festival for creators and their fans to connect in Singapore.
One of the most exciting new products we launched got its start in APAC, when we tested an early beta of YouTube Shorts in India in September 2020. Since then, we saw creators using Shorts to make creative and innovative content. We used what we learned from this launch to bring Shorts to more countries, with it now available in more than 100 countries around the world. Today, YouTube Shorts is averaging over 30 billion daily views — four times as many as a year ago. As of December 2021, we had hit 5 trillion all-time views on Shorts!
We are also investing to make YouTube the next generation of commerce. YouTube acquired simsim in July 2021 to help small businesses and retailers in India reach new customers in even more powerful ways. We have also been testing out live shopping pilots with creators and brands in Korea and Indonesia. Sleepground, a Korean gaming creator who recently participated in the pilot, said her fans enjoyed the seamless experience of purchasing merchandise related to her content on our platform, and that she saw an increased level of interest in her content after the livestream pilot! We look forward to bringing more magic into this field and making shopping more accessible to creators and viewers across APAC soon.
These innovations in and from APAC showed significant impact on creators. As of December 2021, over 120,000 channels in APAC have more than 100,000 subscribers. That’s an increase of over 40 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, over 10,000 channels have crossed the one million subscribers milestone, an increase of over 35 percent year-over-year.
With that kind of growth, it’s easy to see why some of your favorite YouTube content and global trends seem to be stemming right out of Asia.
Home to now global trends
Creators and artists in APAC have been shaping culture globally, creating and inspiring new trends and fresh takes on content.
Just to name a few: Mukbang, a trend that started in Korea, literally translates to ‘eating broadcast.’ It was originally about creators consuming culinary delicacies, but has evolved in more creative and innovative formats, including cooking & mukbang, animation mukbang, one-color mukbang and many more! Now we see all kinds of creators publishing mukbang videos to be a part of the trend.
Virtual creators use virtual avatars generated by computer graphics to engage with their audiences. After the style was popularized by creators like Kizuna AI, the trend began to expand internationally, with English-speaking virtual creators like Gawr Gura reaching global audiences.
Village Cooking is a genre of cooking content that has emerged from villages of India. Known for its use of traditional recipes, large dishes and free serving to the community children and elders, this type of video has been thriving on YouTube, helping us learn about local culture, food and customs.
Of course, it’s impossible to discuss Asian cultural influences without mentioning K-Pop, a music genre that YouTube has been a home for since its early days. From hosting a K-Pop concert in the US in 2012 to partnering with artists and labels to help broaden the reach of K-Pop, YouTube has been dedicated to supporting our partners to grow and go global. In fact, the first YouTube video to hit 1 billion views was the iconic K-Pop song, “Gangnam Style”! Not to mention, 9 out of top 10 24 hour debut music videos, and two out of three most subscribed official artist channels, belong to K-Pop groups.
Lastly, we’ve seen a new style of vlogging emerge from APAC with Silent Vlogging, where creators make less self-focused vlog content without talking to the camera and often without showing their physical appearance. Silent Vlogging focuses on routine, daily activities, where creators, who choose to remain anonymous, subtly seed the message of embracing the ordinary aspects of life, usually through stunning aesthetics.
APAC creators’ creativity and tenacity, coupled with Asia’s position at the heart of the evolving mobile internet, led to the growth of not only these now global trends, but also the creator economy we now see in APAC.
Turning passion to paycheck
One of the things I’m most proud of about YouTube’s evolution is its transformation into a platform that not only supports art and creativity, but livelihoods and society at large. Today, many creators are making a living on YouTube and building a completely new global economy that’s seen incredible growth.
YouTube's creative ecosystem supported more than 850,000 jobs in Australia, India, Japan and Korea combined, and contributed more than US$4 billion to local GDPs in those four countries in 2020.
Over 14 years ago, we introduced the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) in APAC, a first-of-its-kind open monetization program where we share the majority of revenue with creators. Globally, we now have more than 2 million creators participating in YPP, and we paid more than $30 billion in advertising and alternative monetization revenue to creators, artists, and media companies within a three-year period prior to November 2020.
As creators get rewarded for sharing their passion and knowledge with viewers, we’re also seeing them invest more in the quality of content which leads to more rewards, creating a virtuous cycle.
According to Oxford Economics reports, YouTube's creative ecosystem supported more than 850,000 jobs in Australia, India, Japan and Korea combined, and contributed more than US$4 billion to local GDPs in those four countries in 2020. You can find more about the reports here: Australia, India, Japan, Korea.
Creators make a true economic impact, and so prioritizing ways to help them build their businesses will continue to be a top priority for us in the next years to come.
To the next 15 and more years to come
Today, we celebrate 15 years of YouTube in APAC. While there have been significant progress in building a safe space to create, connect and share, our work here isn’t done. In the next 15 years, we commit to refining and investing in the many sides of the platform, so that when people come on YouTube — regardless of location or format — they will always have the most valuable experience.
We have been investing in the policies, resources and products needed to protect the community and trusted creators, including our responsibility framework around four principles: removing violative content, raising authoritative voices, reducing borderline content and rewarding trusted creators. We will continue to build on our work to reduce harmful content across all our products and policies while allowing a diverse range of voices to thrive.
Thank you for an inspiring 15 years.