Astro and iQIYI launch first streaming app outside China

(From left): iQIYI vice president head of international Frank Ye, Astro CEO Henry Tan, iQIYI president of membership and overseas business group Yang Xiang Hua and Astro vice president of chinese content business Wong Siah Ping at the launch of a new online video app today. (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

Tan: We're excited because iQIYI is at the forefront of video streaming, offering both compelling content and a good user experience, which is our two main criteria when we look for streaming partners. We're also looking forward to benefit from their knowhow in data analytics and artificial intelligence. (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

Yang: With strong market capabilities, outstanding content creation and distribution strength, Astro has been a close partner of iQIYI. We share the same belief of providing users with high quality entertainment experiences through technological innovation and content creativity. (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

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BUKIT JALIL (Nov 6): Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd and China-based online entertainment service provider iQIYI Inc have launched a new online video application (app) which marks the latter's first app outside China.

This follows a content partnership inked between Astro and iQIYI back in June this year.

Astro has the exclusive rights to deliver iQIYI content on TV, On Demand and OTT in Malaysia, including the world's first iQIYI branded channel comprising iQIYI's extensive slate of original content, from drama to variety shows and movies.

At the launch of the app today, Astro's chief executive officer Henry Tan said the partnership is timely given that streaming services continue to be in demand.

"We're excited because iQIYI is at the forefront of video streaming, offering both compelling content and a good user experience, which is our two main criteria when we look for streaming partners. We're also looking forward to benefit from their knowhow in data analytics and artificial intelligence," he said.

While iQIYI will mainly feature Chinese-based content, Tan said three original Astro shows will also be made available on the platform, with more to be added over the months.

"The partnership is a good synergy as it gives Malaysians an opportunity to be exposed to international content and vice versa where local content can also be discovered," he added.

Tan said Astro is continuously looking for new streaming providers to partner with and is currently in discussions with some from a few countries.

He added that the group is targeting for an initial 100,000 new free subscribers on the platform in the first year.

iQIYI President of Membership and Overseas Business Group Yang Xianghau said what makes the platform attractive is the ease of user interface and high quality content offering.

The platform currently has over 100 million paid subscribers. Content-wise, there are over 11,000 video episodes across 2,500 titles.

"With strong market capabilities, outstanding content creation and distribution strength, Astro has been a close partner of iQIYI. We share the same belief of providing users with high quality entertainment experiences through technological innovation and content creativity. We are confident that this close partnership will continue to fully synergise through the creativity and capabilities of both parties to provide users in Malaysia with better services," he said.

At the midday break today, Astro shed 1.44% or 2 sen to RM1.37, valuing it at RM7.14 billion.