Chinese Streamer iQIYI Previews 260-Title Slate, But Don't Expect A 'Squid Game'-Style Breakout Show

The Chinese streaming service IQIYI Inc - ADR IQ has unveiled a slate of 260 films, TV series and variety shows, but whether it can score a global breakthrough hit on the level of Netflix Inc.’s NFLX Korean series “Squid Game” remains to be seen.

What Happened: The majority of iQIYI’s new slate falls into the traditional genres of drama, suspense, comedy and variety. Several continuing series are back for new seasons, including “Mr. Housework 4” and “Yes, I Do 3.”

According to a Variety report, several of iQIYI’s new offerings tap into XR technologies with the goal of creating new interactive relationships between viewers and content. The company is seeking to build on its success from earlier this year with the “X-City” extended reality concert that used XR technology to increase immersion levels between fans and the music group The9. 

Related Link: Why Is China Blocking The Release Of Disney's 'The Eternals'?

What's Not Happening: iQIYI, which is majority-owned by Baidu Inc BIDU, is China’s largest streaming service with 106 million paid subscribers across 191 territories worldwide. While mostly unknown to U.S. viewers, it has been expanding its Asia-Pacific market share and has included Korean, Thai, Malaysian and Filipino productions among its offerings.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a very positive trend of international viewers consuming more Asian content as a whole,” said Kuek Yu-Chuang, iQIYI’s vice president of international business. “iQIYI will double down its investment in introducing premium pan-Asian content to the world. We are excited to play a crucial role in putting Asian content front and center in collaboration with top-notch creators and talents from Korea and the Philippines to bring compelling original stories to our users in 191 territories.”

iQIYI’s content needs to adhere to Chinese censorship mandates, which prevents the platform from creating its own “Squid Game”-style cult phenomenon. According to the South China Morning Post, iQIYI Chief Content Officer Wang Xiaohui declared the show would never find a Chinese broadcaster.

“At this stage, this type of relatively dark subject matter that reflects the particularly dark side of human nature definitely won’t be produced in China,” Wang said. “Regarding content production, we must follow ideology and social trends, including the enthusiasm and unity of the Chinese people.”

Photo: iQIYI's "Sweet On Theater" series of romantic dramas.

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