Chinese streaming giant iQIYI is to boost its Southeast Asia operation with the appointment of three new country managers. Two hail from Iflix, the regional streamer now being acquired by Tencent Video.
IQIYI said that former Iflix executive Sherwin Dela Cruz had been hired as its country manager for the Philippines. Dinesh Ratnam, also previously with Iflix, will oversee the markets of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Steven Zhang of live streaming platform Jovy will join iQIYI as country manager in Indonesia.
The Chinese streaming giant launched the international version of its app in 2019 and subsequently strengthened its overseas expansion through a strategic partnership with Malaysia’s Astro. But Yang Xianghua, president of membership and the overseas business group at iQIYI, admitted that cultural barriers have been an obstacle to the Chinese platform’s expansion.
“How to provide cultural products favored by local audiences is an obstacle we need to tackle, while also understanding and adapting to the local market,” Yang said in a statement. He said that the new appointments will accelerate iQIYI’s expansion in Southeast Asia by bringing knowledge and expertise in the local markets.
The announcement came after Taipei lawmakers revealed plans for an OTT bill intended to limit the platform’s activity in Taiwan.
Last week, the National Communications Commissions announced the drafting of a bill with the specific goal of banning mainland Chinese platforms including iQIYI and Tencent from operating on the self-governed island. It wants to do so by applying hefty fines on their local partners such as internet service providers, telcos and software suppliers. The Commission said the full version of the bill will shortly be published on its website for public consultation.