WiMi Hologram Cloud, Inc, China's largest holographic AR content producer, filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC on June 27, 2019, to list American depositary shares (ADS) of up to $50,000,000 on the Nasdaq Global Market, under the symbol "WIMI." Having developed leading-edge holographic AR technologies, WIMI will use the IPO revenues pursuing its mission "to be the creator of the largest holographic AR ecosystem in China."
WIMI has developed an innovative business model with fundamental strengths that positions it for continued leadership. It is the leading holographic augmented reality (AR) application platform in China, in terms of total revenue in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan, and has built the most comprehensive and diversified holographic AR content library among the holographic AR solution providers in China.
WIMI offers augmented reality ("AR")-based holographic services and products, centered on providing an innovative, immersive and interactive holographic augmented reality experience to customers and end-users. 'Customers' have entered a contract with WIMI and use its services pursuant to such contracts.
Current offerings consist primarily of (i) holographic AR advertising services and (ii) holographic AR entertainment products.
During Q1 2019, approximately 80.3% and 19.7% of WIMI's revenues were generated from holographic AR advertising services and holographic AR entertainment products, while during FY 2018, approximately 80.5% and 19.5% of revenues were generated from holographic AR advertising and holographic AR entertainment products. This compared to 69.3% and 30.7% of the Company's revenues the year before.
Holographic AR Advertising Services
WIMI's holographic AR advertising software enables users to insert real or animated three-dimensional ("3D") objects into video footage, integrating seamlessly within the scene. WIMI's online holographic AR advertising solution embeds holographic AR ads into films and shows that are hosted by leading online streaming platforms in China.
During Q1 2019, holographic AR ads produced using WIMI software generated 2.3 billion views, as compared to 1.2 billion views during Q1 2018, an increase of 91.7%. During FY 2018, WIMI holographic AR ads tallied 6.6 billion views, as compared to 4.9 billion views a year earlier, an increase of 34.7%.
WIMI had 65 customers during Q1 2019, as compared to 49 customers in Q1 2018. Average revenue per customer was approximately RMB 1.0 million, as compared to RMB 0.7 million the year before.
During the FY 2018, WIMI had 121 customers, as compared to 97 customers during FY 2017. Average revenue per customer was approximately RMB 1.5 million, as compared to RMB 1.4 million during FY 2017.
Average revenue increase was due to the improvement in technologies where we could embed more contents in the advertisements. The duration of a typical AR advertising service contract is one year.
In 2018, WIMI had 36 customers that each accounted for more than RMB 1.5 million of revenues in the AR advertising services business, and 20 such customers in 2017. Customers who contributed more than RMB 1.5 million revenues in AR advertising service was 20.6% in 2017 and increased to 29.8% in 2018.
In addition, customer retention rate, which is defined as the percentage of customers who have purchased more than once during a specific period in our AR advertising business, was 19.6% and 30.6% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. WIMI believes this material increase reflects customer satisfaction with its holographic AR advertising services.
Through its proprietary image and video recognition technologies, WIMI's software enables users to analyze the underlying video footages at a pixel level to identify ad spaces that can be augmented by 3D objects. Advertisers and their agencies purchase these ad spaces through an application programming interface, or APIs, integrated with WIMI's systems, specifying their target audience and budgets and typically providing the 3D models to be embedded in the videos.
When ad space is detected and 3D objects are generated, the objects are embedded into the underlying streaming videos automatically on a batch-processing basis as determined by our software.
Holographic AR Entertainment Products
WIMI's holographic AR entertainment products consist primarily of payment middleware software, game distribution platform and holographic mixed reality (MR) software. Payment middleware is a software solution that connects mobile apps to payment channels, giving mobile app users convenient access to a wide range of online payment options.
WIMI has cooperated with more than 55 app developers and its payment middleware has been embedded to over 1,100 marketed mobile apps of over 300 customers in 2018, most of which were featured by AR functions.
The advanced payment middleware streamlines the often time-consuming mobile payment process. Our mobile payment middleware facilitates app developers to build an in-app payment infrastructure that allows micropayments to be made or received through an efficient, secure system, without any interface redirection.
Such mobile payment middleware enables app developers to store users' payment credentials in a trusted and safe environment and eases users burden of repeatedly entering and authenticating payment information for each transaction.
WIMI's payment middleware can be fully integrated with various types of mobile apps, especially those employing AR technologies, such as live streaming, gaming, selfie, photo editing, and video-sharing apps. Currently, WIMI's payment middleware supports substantially all of the major online payment channels in China, and is compatible with the mainstream mobile operating systems.
Holographic AR Market Perspectives
China's holographic AR market is fast-growing and rapidly evolving as holography and AR continue to proliferate. According to Frost & Sullivan, author of a June 18, 2019 industry report [commissioned by WIMI], 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.