Chinese streaming giant iQiyi has announced a slate of 33 Chinese original productions, including Pledge Of Allegiance, a sequel to hit martial arts film Brotherhood Of Blades, and an adaptation of hot Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin’s Ball Lightning.
The streamer, which has been making a big push into Southeast Asian markets, has also struck a deal with Malaysian broadcaster Suke TV for exclusive rights to ten Malay variety shows to stream on its iQiyi International platform for audiences in Singapore and Malaysia.
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The new Chinese content slate is divided across five genres – Epic Tales, Young Power, Mystery Adventures, Oriental Fantasy and Differentiated Romance.
Pledge Of Allegiance, a spin-off from 2014 hit Brotherhood Of Blades about a group of brutal secret police, falls under the Epic Tales banner, along with new seasons of hot period dramas, Nirvana In Fire 3 and Chinese Paladin 4. Brotherhood Of Blades grossed $14m (RMB93m) in Chinese theaters in 2014, a time when it was thought local audiences were tiring of period martial arts movies.
New show Thirteen Hongs Of Canton is set against the Qing Dynasty factories in Guangzhou, which were the only trading port between China and the West at the time. Cao Dun, whose credits include critically-acclaimed show The Longest Day In Chang’an, will direct.
Young Power, catering for China’s Generation Z viewers, includes an adaptation of sci-fi novel Ball Lightning, written by hot sci-fi author Liu Cixin, whose trilogy The Three-Body Problem is currently being adapted by Netflix. The YA sci-fi series revolves around a teenager who has a mysterious encounter on the night of his 14th birthday.
Also under the Young Power banner are The Heart Of Genius, starring Zhang Zifeng (Sister, Detective Chinatown 3), which is set to stream from July 22; Rising With The Wind, a story about young entrepreneurs starring Wu Xuanyi, a member of K-pop group WJSN; and romantic drama Road Home, starring Jing Boran and Tan Songyun.
Mystery Adventures includes Chasing The Undercurrent, starring heartthrobs Huang Jingyu (My Dear Guardian) and Tony Yang (Light The Night); Checkmate, a mystery series inspired by Agatha Christie novels; and Lost In The Kunlun Mountains, which reunites the producers behind hit show The Golden Eyes and stars Xu Kai (Story Of Yanxi Palace).
Oriental Fantasy includes wuxia and fantasy-inspired series such as Fox Spirit Matchmaker 1, starring Yang Mi; and Thousand Years For You, about a thousand-year old general played by Ren Jialun. The Differentiated Romance slate, which aims to bring a new spin to the romantic drama genre, is headed by Lesson In Love, a tale of forbidden love between a high school teacher and student starring Taiwanese actors Ann Hsu and Edward Chen; and Back For You, starring Angelababy.
The slate of variety shows acquired from Suke TV includes Polkadot, Berita Latah, Tanya Je, Tomey Tomey, DAC PM YOU, DurianKimchi, Makan Tepi Lori, Pin Pin Sapa Tu?, Listen Up, and Odah Billionaire. They will stream on iQiyi International in Singapore and Malaysia via a dedicated channel.
Dinesh Ratnam, iQiyi’s country manager for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, said this was “the first time we introduce locally produced variety shows to our viewers and are excited about delighting our users with this new format.”
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