Chinese streaming app iQiyi will officially launch outside China for the first time via a partnership with Malaysian telco Astro.
It makes Astro the first app partner for iQiyi as the telco takes on responsibility for marketing, customer acquisition and sales around the iQiyi proposition in Malaysia.
The launch means the app, which has over 100 million subscribers in China, will be available to Malaysians on mobile devices on iOS and Android, as well as Apple TV. Some content will be free to watch, while subscription packages will also be launched, to allow people to watch content ad-free.
Henry Tan, chief executive of Astro, said: “Astro is excited to be iQiyi’s first app partner outside China. We believe this is the start of many more initiatives with iQiyi. The partnership is timely as we are seeing growing streaming services and interest as consumers are able to enjoy the rich content choices in a convenient and personalised manner. iQiyi is at the forefront of video streaming, offering both compelling content and good user experience. In addition, we look forward to benefit from iQIYI in data analytics and AI.”
The two companies had already been working together, firstly via a content partnership deal in 2017 around ‘Hot Blood Dance Crew’ and ‘The Rap of China’. However, this new deal will see the launch of Astro Originals, including ‘Miss Astro Chinese International Pageant’, ‘Call Me Handsome’ and a web drama ‘Why So Famous’, on the iQiyi app and featuring Malaysian talent for the first time.
Yang Xianghua, president of membership and overseas business group of iQiyi, said: “The exchanges and communications of global content have become more accessible with the help of wireless technology, data storage technology and big-data analytics. We hope to provide quality entertainment services to overseas users by sharing our research and development results, data storage capability and computing power with our partners."
“With strong marketing capabilities, outstanding content creation and distribution strength, Astro has been a close partner of iQiyi. We share the same belief of providing users with high-quality entertainment experiences through technological innovation and content creativity. And we are confident that this close partnership will continue to fully synergise through the creativity and capabilities of both parties to provide users in Malaysia with better services.”
The deal is part of the Chinese streaming company’s strategy to focus on content and innovation to grow its subscriber base.