China’s streaming platform “iQIYI”, which is called the Chinese version of Netflix, is investing a huge amount of capital to produce Korean contents.
With the aim of securing half of its paid subscribers from overseas users within the next 5 years, iQIYI has bought a large number of copyrights for many Korean dramas last year, and is keen to produce its original content with Korean producers.
iQIYI bought the overseas copyrights for the drama “Mount Jiri” for well over 20 billion won, and has introduced the tvN’s drama “My Roommate is a Gumiho” which is its first original Korean work of the year. However, public opinion in Korea is lukewarm regarding such an aggressive move. This is because the Koreans are mentally against the Chinese capital after China’s Northeast Project movement intensifies and the excessive PPL.
First of all, “My Roommate is a Gumiho” has received lots of attention as it was the first original Korean content presented by iQIQI, but at the same time, it was sponsored by Chinese capital, causing a huge controversy at that time. Throughout the show’s airtime, it was even called a “Chinese drama”.
In addition, many users on Korean online communities are criticizing iQIYI, encouraging people to “boycott” and demand iQIYI to “cancel the production” regarding a list of drama series that iQIYI has confirmed to produce until next year.
One of the drama on that list is iQIYI’s 2nd original Korean work, tvN’s new Friday-Saturday drama “Bad and Crazy”, starred actors Lee Dong-wook, Wi Ha-joon and Han Ji-eun. “Bad and Crazy“, which first aired on Dec 17th, is a character recovery hero drama in which Soo-yeol, a competent but “bad guy”, encounters the righteous “crazy guy” K.
The drama “Shooting Star“, which is scheduled to air on tvN, will also be streamed exclusively overseas through iQIYI. Starring Lee Sung-kyung and Kim Young-dae, “Shooting Star” is a romantic comedy about Oh Han-byul, the PR team leader of a management company, and Gong Tae-sung, the top actor of the management company where Oh Han-byul works.
Although iQIYI has not formalized its entry into Korea, it is expected that the domestic OTT industry will suffer if it enters the domestic market based on its enormous financial power. In addition, there is growing concern that the “Chinese color” will heavily affect the story as the drama to be produced in the future might be influenced by the production company iQIYI.
It is pointed out that as Chinese capital flows into Korean contents and its influence grows, the pressure of domestic production companies may increase. Previously, iQIYI once undermined Korean contents’ value, saying that, “Works like ‘Squid Game’ will not be made in China.”