Chinese streamer iQiyi has revealed its plans for international expansion following the 2019 worldwide rollout of its app.
Speaking at the APOS 2020 Virtual Series, Yang Xianghua, president of membership and overseas business group of iQiyi, said that the company is in the process of setting up local offices in Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. In addition, he said that there are also plans to establish localised teams in South Korea, Japan, and the Middle East.
The US$15.22 billion iQiyi, which sees a reported 500 million monthly active users and is largely considered to be the Chinese equivalent of Netflix, operates locally out of Beijing and has Singapore as its overseas headquarters. Both offices will be tasked with providing strategic support for the local teams, which in turn will be focused on acquiring and producing more content tailored for the local market.
Yang said that the initial overseas push will be focused on markets with cultural and geographical proximities to China, and as such has recently hired Sherwin Dela Cruz as country manager of Philippines; Dinesh Ratnam as country manager of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; and Steven Zhang as country manager of Indonesia.
Along with acquiring and producing content, these managers will also be tasked with partnering with local media brands and operators, leveraging their networks and infrastructure. In Malaysia, iQiyi already has a deal in place with leading TV and radio operator Astro, and has border-crossing deals with smart TV and smartphone makers TCL, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo.
Yang concluded that since the international app launch in June 2019, the company has made solid progress in building local teams, developing content and diversifying channel partnerships.
This news comes a month after iQiyi announced distribution agreements with channel operator and content producer Insight and A+E Networks Asia for its drama Backstreet Rookie. The streamer is also reportedly exploring a potential merger with domestic OTT rival Tencent.