The iQIYI Innovation Building in Beijing, China. Photo: Wikimedia commons

China’s Netflix-like streaming platform iQIYI reported 15% growth in second-quarter revenue, largely thanks to a strong rise in subscription numbers.

The online company had more than 100 million paid subscribers by the end of the second quarter, according to its latest unaudited interim financial report.

On August 20, 2019, iQIYI reported a net loss of 2.3 billion yuan from April to June, compared with 2.1 billion yuan in the same period last year, the Paper reported.

The company generated revenue of about 7.1 billion yuan (about US$1 billion) in the quarter, with the number of subscribing members exceeding 100.5 million, a 50% increase from the same period last year.

Revenue from membership services in the period rose 38% year on year to reach 3.4 billion yuan, accounting for 48% of total revenue. Gong Yu, iQIYI’s founder and chief executive officer, said it was a milestone for the company to hit 100 million subscription members.

Wang Xiaodong, the company’s chief financial officer, said although there were challenges in the industry, the company still saw revenue growth.

In a conference call after the release of the financial report, Gong was asked by the media about the industry environment as well as any possible impacts or competition by traditional film and television broadcasting to the video streaming business of iQIYI.

Gong Yu said the internet-based entertainment industry had been developing with an increasing number of directors, screenwriters and actors in the past two years.

In the first half of last year and earlier, actors were paid between 80 million and 120 million yuan, which put stress on the company’s finances, he said. He added that with the price tag dropping to 40 million or 50 million, the cost of paid content had become more affordable.

It was anticipated that the video streaming market would be more stable and mature in the near future and iQIYI would be expected to have a bigger say in terms of cost control.

However, the launch of some content would be rescheduled, some of which would be postponed to the fourth quarter or next year, he said.

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