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iQiyi hires Netflix exec as vice president, setting sights on Southeast Asia

The streaming service has more than 100 million paying subscribers.

Chinese video streaming platform iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) has announced on June 10 the appointment of Singaporean Kuek Yu-Chuang, who was Netflix’s head of APAC, as vice president (VP) of iQiyi’s international business, in a move to gain a major foothold outside of its domestic market.

Kuek started as a diplomat for the Singaporean government, while also becoming a veteran in the tech industry with experience at Yahoo Inc and Airbnb, according to his LinkedIn page. Kuek, who served at Netflix for four years, will oversee iQiyi’s global strategic planning, marketing, business development, and public affairs functions for overseas business, the announcement states.

The arrival of Kuek is in line with iQiyi’s push in the overseas market, primarily in the Southeast Asian market.

The Baidu-backed video streaming platform hopes to have as many as half its subscribers in overseas markets in five years, iQiyi CEO and founder Gong Yu told Reuters in late-2019. The platform claimed to have 118.9 million subscribing members in total as of March 31, up 23% year-over-year (YoY), without detailing the number of international users.

Its international version made its debut in June 2019, bringing the video streaming service to countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, and Laos. In November, the company announced a partnership with Astro, a mojar Malaysian television service provider, in a bid to reach local users.

On top of its collaboration with local players, iQiyi has been trying to lure overseas users with translated China-produced content. For example, this year, it added the Chinese box office blockbuster Nezha and its self-produced talent-seeking reality show Youth with You into the streaming options for its international platform.

For the first quarter of 2020, it reported total revenue of USD 1.1 billion, representing a 9% YoY growth. Meanwhile, its net loss widened, from last year Q1’s RMB 1.8 billion to this year’s RMB 2.9 billion (USD 406 million).