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iQiyi unveils first Korean original

My Roommate is a Gumiho is based on a Korean webtoon

ATF: Chinese streamer iQiyi is continuing its international expansion with its first Korean original production.

My Roommate is a Gumiho is based on popular Korean webtoon Living Together and will be produced in partnership with CJ ENM-owned Studio Dragon and JTBC Studio.

The series will be written, directed and produced by industry veterans Baek Sun-woo (What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim), Choi Bo-rim and Nam Sung-woo (Kkondae Intern), and will star Jang Ki Yong and Lee Hyeri.

The deal was announced during a session at the Asia TV Forum, which is taking place in Singapore this week.

iQiyi International, which is based in Singapore, soft-launched last year with its website iQ.com and app, providing Asian content to global users. The global expansion plan has also seen the division launch offices in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and North America.

At ATF, the company also confirmed its intention to continue developing Chinese, Korean and South-East Asian content. In 2020, iQiyi International licensed a total of 29 Korean shows to screen worldwide and also has hits with drama The Bad Kids and reality show Youth With You 2, now renewed for season three.

In 2021, it will release its first South-East Asian original production, Ferrymen: Legends of the Nanyang, before following up with Sisterhood in 2022. Both shows will star Singaporean and Malaysian actors, such as Lawrence Wong, Qi Yu Wu, Tay Ping Hui and Xiang Yun.

“Our first Korean original show is made in partnership with some of Korea’s top storytellers and production company,” said Kuek Yu-Chuang, VP of international business at iQiyi. “This is only the first step in the long journey of bringing more beloved Asian stories to a global audience.”

Yu-Chuang added that these content deals, plus a new marketing alliance with the Singapore Tourism Board, “are just some of the ways iQiyi International has been continuing to grow our roots in Asia, with an aim to appeal to our international audiences. As iQiyi International moves out to the global markets, we are always looking out for new and exciting partnerships.

“These iQiyi originals have shown that the future of Chinese entertainment is a very bright one, especially outside of China. It is clear that our content is starting to gain mainstream appeal because of its universal themes and storylines.”

The Korean original “comes on the back of a pivotal 2020 for us as we embarked on our international expansion in earnest,” added Yang Xianghua, president of membership and overseas business group at iQiyi.

“We reinforced our content growth with investments in more markets and will continue expanding our presence locally by bringing on more content and production teams. Over the coming years, we remain committed to bringing high-quality, beloved Asian stories to our iQiyi service.”

Last month, Reuters reported that Chinese internet giants Alibaba Group and Tencent had each held separate talks with Chinese tech company Baidu, which owns iQiyi, to acquire a controlling stake in the streamer.

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