News: China’s iQIYI to develop regional stars for Southeast Asia push.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Chinese online video platform iQIYI plans to set up a talent agency in Southeast Asia to promote its own entertainers to become Asia’s dominant streaming platform, a senior executive told Reuters.
The company, whose parent company is search engine giant Baidu, announced on Wednesday that it is partnering with Singapore-based entertainment group GHY Culture & Media to create a talent management agency to identify talent in the 655 million region and to present them in their productions.
The move, which comes three months after the streaming platform’s international headquarters were installed in Singapore, is expected to spawn young stars who are popular with both Chinese and Southeast Asian audiences, said Yang Xianghua, vice president of international business.
“We are already growing rapidly, with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore being our fastest growing markets,” he said. “We recorded 12 times the user growth in the region in 2020.”
At the same time, Yang said that iQIYI’s Southeast Asian productions in China are seeing strong audience numbers.
“Our goal is to be an Asian content platform,” he said, adding that there are plans for more original Southeast Asian TV shows and movies. Teams in South Korea and Japan are working on the development of original dramas and anime.
A program about the agency’s search for Southeast Asian talent will also be broadcast.
Southeast Asia, with its young online population, is becoming the newest battlefield for streaming platforms. According to a study by Google, Temasek Holdings and Bain & Co., revenue from video subscriptions is expected to increase fivefold by 2025.
Other companies are also planning to expand into Southeast Asia. Disney + launched in Indonesia and Singapore in late 2020. Netflix expanded subscription-only services to the region, while Chinese tech giant Tencent’s WeTV bought the assets of Malaysian streaming platform Iflix in June.
iQIYI has lost significant market share to Tencent in China, but both work together on international productions. This includes a Chinese variety show with Korean K-pop rapper and Thai national Lisa from hit band Blackpink, the kind of regional star iQIYI is now looking to promote.
Yang said iQIYI is also in talks with the Singapore and Malaysia authorities to bring Chinese stars to the region.
Southeast Asia is one of the top consumers of Chinese entertainment content outside of China, but iQIYI is also intensifying efforts in North America and the Middle East.
“In North America, our target is Asian and Asian-American audiences, while in the Middle East we are exploring appetites for Asian content, but we see great potential.”
Adaptation by Jacqueline Wong
Original Source © Reuters