Global streaming service iQIYI has signaled its international expansion ambitions and further investment in Southeast Asia by launching its new international headquarters at Robinson Road in Singapore. Speaking from their new office, the entertainment technology company reaffirmed its commitment to the region, after having announced its plans to capture global audiences during this year’s Asia TV Forum and Market (“ATF”).

“Despite the current global climate in 2020, we see an opportunity for iQIYI International to grow at an even faster rate in the coming year. We have been building and expanding our international team, not just in Singapore, but in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand as well,” said Gong Yu, CEO of iQIYI International at the company’s opening ceremony. 

“2020 has been a decisive year for us. We kickstarted our international expansion and enlarged our content catalogue with investments in more markets. We’ve chosen Singapore to anchor our international operations as Singapore’s connectivity and reputation as a prime talent hub makes it the ideal gateway to ramp up our global operations,” said Kuek Yu-Chuang, Vice President for International Business at iQIYI.

Since iQIYI International’s soft launch in 2019, the team has grown to take on roles in content, ad sales, community engagement, marketing and partnerships, with the majority of them based in Southeast Asia. The company hopes to tap on the talent pool in Singapore and is looking to hire over 200 staff in the next few years to take the business to the next level.

Besides managing regional markets from Singapore, iQIYI International will continue to deepen its presence in the coming years, especially through partnering with local production houses such as mm2 Asia, Clover Films, G.H.Y Culture and Media, and CJ ENM HK to innovate together and  bring more high quality, beloved Asian stories to a  global audience.

“This is an exciting time for Asian content, and iQIYI’s anchoring in Singapore is testament to the attractiveness of our city-state as the place for leading corporations to expand their regional presence. I look forward to working with iQIYI to grow our media industry here and regionally, nurture our local media talent and helping our companies leverage on iQiyi’s technical capabilities to produce more content targeted for an expanded audience,” said Assistant Chief Executive for Media and Innovation at Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Mr Howie Lau. 

More avenues for local storytelling

The global streaming platform has already wrapped its first local collaboration, The Ferryman: Legends of Nanyang with Singapore production company, G.H.Y. Culture and Media which will be released in 2021. The fantasy re-telling of the novel, Soul Ferry, stars iQIYI International VIP ambassador Lawrence Wong and local actors, Qi Yu Wu, Tay Ping Hui, and Xiang Yun.

Ferryman: Legends of the Nanyang
‘Ferryman: Legends of the Nanyang.’ Courtesy of iQIYI.

Lawrence Wong, iQIYI International VIP ambassador who also stars in Ferryman: Legends of the Nanyang, said: “I am honoured to be part of the iQIYI International family. Its presence and commitment to telling Asian stories will benefit the regional showbiz industry, making household names out of actors in Asia.”

“iQIYI International’s commitment to telling more Asian stories will definitely benefit local authors and auteurs. The industry will have more runway to grow with the commission of hyper-local content and an expanded audience in Asia. I am eager to share Singapore stories to viewers in China and around the region,” commented Chang Long Jong, Group Chief Executive Officer of mm2 Asia.

“It’s not every day we get to partner with a global entertainment service that understands the nuances of Asian culture. We’re excited to collaborate with iQIYI International to create stories that will resonate with both local and a global audience,” added Managing Director of Clover Films, Lim Teck. 

Mickey Ong, Vice-President and General Manager of CJ ENM HK said, “As consumer demand grows, we’re always on the lookout for partners who raise the industry bar while evolving simultaneously to meet their needs. It is a pleasure to team up with iQIYI and we are eager to deliver the best-in-class content to our viewers.”

“We have a long-standing relationship with iQIYI, which is often referred to as a leading company by domestic audiences. As a leader, it brings cutting-edge technology and poignant human stories to audiences. As its strategic partner, we have no doubt that iQIYI International will become the top streaming company in the region and beyond,” declared Mr. Guo Jingyu, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of G.H.Y Culture & Media Holding Co., Limited. 

iQIYI International soft-launched in 2019 with their website and App, providing high-quality Asian content to global users. The company is owned by iQIYI Inc, which is based in China. It has offices in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, and North America.