China’s largest video-on-demand provider, iQiyi (愛奇藝), a subsidiary of Internet search engine Baidu Inc (百度), yesterday launched its online video-streaming services in Taiwan.
iQiyi is not the first foreign over-the-top (OTT) service provider that plans to gain a foothold in Taiwan, as Taiwanese consumers are spending more time watching online video streaming than the global average.
In January, the US’ biggest online video-on-demand provider Netflix Inc launched its services in Taiwan as part of its expansion to Asia.
French online video-on-demand provider Dailymotion SA is following suit and is scheduled to launch its services in Taiwan tomorrow.
Taiwanese spent 7.8 hours per week watching video-on-demand on the Internet, 1.8 hours higher than the global average, according to an Ericsson report issued in November last year.
“Taiwan is our first market outside China,” iQiyi founder and chief executive officer Gong Yu (龔宇) told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
“For iQiyi, Taiwan is the second-biggest Chinese-speaking market other than China as our big data analysis shows,” Gong said.
To provide localized content, the Beijing-based company plans to deepen its collaboration with Taiwanese talent, movie directors and producers to create original content for Chinese-speaking subscribers, Gong said.
iQiyi operates 11 categories of video-on-demand content including movies, soap operas, animation, documentaries and original programs produced by iQiyi. In total, the company offers 125 soap operas made in Taiwan, 80 variety shows from Taiwan and more than 2,000 Hollywood movies.
Subscribers will be able to access iQiyi’s videos on the company’s Web sites via computers or through the company’s mobile application, the company said, adding that it is preparing to deliver its content on tablet devices as well.
Last week, movie distributor and producer Catchplay Inc (威望國際) expanded to the OTT market by launching its video-on-demand service.
The company said the service is streaming content from NBC Universal, Warner Brothers Entertainment and independent studios.
Catchplay said it plans to expand to Singapore and Indonesia soon.
Local telecom companies are also gearing up for providing OTT services. Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳電信) plans to spend as much as NT$20 million (US$611,714) this year to acquire the rights to English-language movies, as well as Chinese, South Korean and Japanese soap operas.
The budget is 50 percent higher than last year, Far EasTone said, while expecting its OTT subscribers to increase to 500,000 this year.
Far EasTone president Yvonne Li (李彬) said that she considers iQiyi to be a serious competitor, as they have similar target demographics.
Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) said it aims to grow its streaming video-on-demand subscribers to 700,000 this year from last year’s 520,000.
The company aims to have 210,000 subscribers to its OTT services by the end of this year.
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