China’s leading streaming site iQiyi passes 100 million paid users
Published: Jun 25, 2019 06:13 PM

iQiyi spokesman Zhang Yixing Photo: IC

"We don't support the pay on demand model for films that exists on other Chinese streaming sites. That comes from an outdated model that was created by the big six Hollywood studios," Yang Xianghua, president in charge of membership and overseas business at China's leading streaming site iQiyi, told the Global Times on Monday, noting that the company is trying to move away from that model. 

"For me, I strongly support a membership model." 

On Saturday, the platform exceeded the benchmark of 100 million paid users, the first streaming platform in China to do so. According to Yang, 99 percent of these users are in the Chinese mainland. 

First-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai still make up a majority of its paid users, Yang noted. However, Northwest China's Qinghai Province, Gansu Province and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are seeing the fastest growth, although paid users in these regions still make up a small percentage. 

"This shows that paid membership is gradually being accepted by people even in remote areas," he said. 

It took the platform years to grow the number of paid memberships. The first phase of rapid growth, from 2013 to 2015, was largely driven by films, while streaming dramas such as the 2015 hit The Lost Tomb was the main impetus for growth during the following stage. By the end of 2016, iQiyi boasted 20 million paid members. 

The company's strategy of putting out self-produced dramas have continued to boost these numbers.