Chinese streaming service iQiyi unveiled its Singapore office on Robinson Road on Tuesday (December 15), which will serve as its regional headquarters.
Kuek Yu Chuang, iQiyi’s vice president for its international operations, said the company currently has 25 employees and plans to hire over 200 people in Singapore over the next five years.
He added that iQiyi “will expand a number of functions here”. Without giving any specific details, he hinted that “content will be a big part of it”.
iQiyi plans to do more shows in Singapore and distribute them worldwide by working with local production houses.
The first collaboration in Singapore is with the local production company GHY Culture and Media for the filming of The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang, which is expected to be released in 2021.
The drama series features Lawrence Wong from the popular historical drama Story of Yanxi Palace, who will appear alongside local stars Qi Yu Wu, Tay Ping Hui and Xiang Yun.
This collaboration follows iQiyi’s three-year Memorandum of Understanding recently signed with the Singapore Tourism Board to promote Singapore as a travel destination in China and other key markets.
In addition, iQiyi said it will also step up its sales, marketing and business development to better target global audiences.
iQiyi is second in the Chinese video streaming market
Photo credit: Reuters
ICiiy was founded in 2010 and is the top 2 player on the Chinese video streaming market with 104.8 million subscribers at the end of September.
While iQiyi ranks second in the market, it has yet to break even in the last 10 years. In fact, the latest quarterly results showed revenue and subscriber drops, which caused stocks to fall too.
iQiyi began expanding into Southeast Asia and beyond last June. The company currently has several global offices including Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Manila, Dubai and Toronto.
“We selected Singapore to anchor our international operations as Singapore’s connectivity and reputation as a world-class talent center are the ideal gateway to expand our global operations,” said Kuek.
In addition to iQiyi, many other Chinese giants are also setting up offices in Singapore despite the COVID-19 pandemic. These include Chinese giant Tencent and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.
Separately, it is reported that both Alibaba and Tencent are in talks with Baidu to acquire a majority stake in iQiyi. Bytedance is researching the same business, according to sources.
Discussions have apparently stalled because Baidu allegedly requested a valuation of around $ 20 billion, but Tencent believes the company is only worth about half that.
In China, Tencent Video is the top player in the video streaming market with a penetration rate of 45 percent at the end of 2019, according to research company BlueCatData.
iQiyi takes a close second place with 43 percent and Alibaba’s Youku comes third with 27 percent.
Selected image source: China Film Insider