Chinese streaming giant iQIYI has poached a top executive from rival Netflix as it takes aim at accelerating global expansion, Variety reported.
Singaporean executive Kuek Yu-Chuang was hired as VP of international business. He was previously VP of public policy for Asia Pacific at Netflix.
Reporting to Yang Xianghua, iQIYI’s president of overseas business, Kuek will oversee strategic planning, market development and public affairs, Variety reported.
Kuek studied at Peking University and later obtained post-graduate degrees from Harvard and INSEAD.
He began his career with the Singapore government and held roles as a diplomat, trade negotiator and policy-maker, before moving into the private sector with jobs at ICANN Asia Pacific and Yahoo! Inc., Variety reported.
“We want to send a strong signal to potential partners that we are looking to collaborate and contribute to the global streaming ecosystem. I look forward to seeing Kuek’s leadership, across markets and cultures, accelerate the company’s global expansion,” said Yang in a statement.
IQIYI, which claims 119 million paying subscribers, sees its operations predominantly in mainland China. It also has established a foothold in Taiwan.
In June last year, it launched its app across much of South East Asia, Variety reported.
In November it announced a partnership with regional pay-TV group Astro to localize activities in Malaysia, but to date, iQIYI has not yet developed much of a local service in any other SE Asian territory.
Kuek’s appointment comes six months after iQiyi hired a former BBC executive to take charge of its operations in Thailand, Caixin Global reported.
iQiyi said that its net losses widened to 2.9 billion yuan (US$406 million) in the first quarter of 2020 from 1.8 billion yuan a year ago, even though it posted a year-on-year increase of 23% in the number of subscribing members in the period.
NASDAQ-listed iQIYI is controlled by Chinese search-firm Baidu. It has attempted to diversify away from the subscription and ad-supported VoD models by developing content distribution, live broadcasting, online games, IP licensing, online literature and e-commerce functions.