NASDAQ-listed China video streaming giant iQIYI Inc has appointed three new country managers who will oversee the Baidu-backed company’s strategic growth plan in Southeast Asia.
The company has appointed Sherwin Dela Cruz as country manager for the Philippines; Dinesh Ratnam as country manager of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei; and Steven Zhang as country manager of Indonesia. Both Dela Cruz and Ratnam were previously with video streaming platform iflix.
Last month, Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings confirmed the purchase of Malaysia-based iflix’s content, technology and resources.
The country managers will be responsible for the localisation and development of iQIYI’s business in these key Southeast Asian markets, according to a statement.
The announcement comes after iQIYI, popularly considered as China’s equivalent to Netflix, appointed former Netflix executive Kuek Yu-Chuang as VP of international business last month. He was previously VP of public policy for the Asia-Pacific at Netflix.
The appointment of the three country-managers also comes at a time when the Southeast Asian region is witnessing growing consolidation in the video-streaming space.
Bloomberg reported early this month that South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Corp. is buying the software of Hooq Digital Ltd., the Southeast Asian video streaming service owned by Singtel, Sony and Warner Bros which has filed for liquidation.
Dela Cruz joins iQIYI from iflix Philippines, where, as co-founder and country manager, he built Southeast Asia’s streaming media platform’s Filipino business from the ground up, overseeing its overall operations and development in the local market. Prior to iflix, Sherwin held a stint at IBM and went on to become a founder in a number of technology startups.
Ratnam joins iQIYI from iflix where he served as its Malaysia Country Manager and oversaw growth and overall development of the local business. Prior to iflix, he was a director in the CEO’s office of Catcha Group overseeing the group’s tech and media investments in Southeast Asia. He has also served as an investment banker in JPMorgan Chase & Co in London and San Francisco.
Prior to iQIYI, Zhang was Indonesia country manager for Joyy Inc, a global live streaming platform.
iQIYI’s membership and overseas business group president Yang Xianghua said that the three executives who are well versed in entertainment and technology industries as well as local market insights will help boost the company’s presence in Southeast Asia.
In November 2019, five months after the launch of the international version of the iQIYI App, the company officially commenced its overseas expansion via a strategic partnership with Astro, a pay-TV media group in Malaysia.
Within the first year of global expansion, iQIYI’s overseas team has attracted a vast array of leading executives from global companies including the BBC, CJ Entertainment, iflix, LINE TV, Netflix and Sony.
Reuters reported in June that Tencent was in early talks to become the biggest shareholder in iQIYI, but both companies declined to comment.