Chinese streaming giants at full steam to attract more audiences
High-quality content a must to enter global markets
Published: May 11, 2023 10:33 PM
Photo: Courtesy of IQiyi

Photo: Courtesy of IQiyi

Chinese streaming giants are releasing the slates for their upcoming dramas, movies and variety shows, hoping to attract more and more audiences from home and aboard. 

iQiyi announced a series of heavyweight TV productions, including The Great Long March, Father and Son and Romance on the Farm, on Wednesday at its annual World Conference. 

On the same day, Tencent Video also announced shooting had begun for the prequel to its 2019 hit Qing Yu Nian with the original cast and crew. 

Other platforms like Youku have taken aim at high-quality content that can be introduced to the world's stage as an excellent carrier of Chinese culture and ambassador of the country's strong TV production industry. 

"China's streaming platforms are working hard to win the hearts of audiences in global markets," Sun Jiashan, an associate researcher at the China National Academy of Arts, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The fast development of streaming sites and steadily increasing production quality has secured a place for Chinese dramas in international markets, Sun said. 

With its international app, Chinese streaming sites like iQiyi can promote and introduce more and more new and popular content to overseas audiences. 

"It has achieved a breakthrough growth in some key markets such as Southeast Asia and North America. This year, we will continue to promote Chinese-language content vigorously, expand the overseas reach of Chinese-language content, achieve further user growth and make breakthroughs in key emerging markets," Yang Xianghua, president of iQiyi's Movie & Overseas Business Group, told the Global Times. 

According to a 2022 survey by the Global Times, with the strengthening of China's overseas influence and deepening of international exchanges and cooperation, more Chinese film and television works have entered cinemas and people's homes in other countries. Internet streaming (64 percent) and television (50.5 percent) are the main channels through which respondents watch Chinese films and televisions. 

Most internet users mainly use YouTube, Google and Netflix to access content.

Many popular Chinese films and television shows, such as A Lifelong Journey, A Dream of Splendor and Reset, can be found and watched through a simple search on YouTube and Google. On Netflix, some hit costume dramas in 2022, including Love between Fairy and Devil, Love like the Galaxy and Immortal Samsara, are all available.

The series Love between Fairy and ­Devil, which tells the story between a demon named Dongfang Qingcang and the immortal Xiaolanhua, has been so well received in international markets that it has a high score of 8.5/10 on rating platform IMDB. 

"Different from previous costume dramas and historical dramas, this new type of film and television drama is supported by a new idol culture and system, which is very attractive to young people," Sun said.

Additionally, localization and working with overseas production companies have also been widely used by Chinese streaming giants like iQiyi, which has begun to produce content such as The Hidden Character: Unmasked and KinnPorsche: The Series for local markets like Thailand and Malaysia.