More than five million subscribers are now paying to use the Chinese streaming service iQiyi.
The increase represents a 765% annual increase, the company said in a statement.
IQiyi, an independently operated subsidiary of the Beijing-based search engine company Baidu, was founded in 2010 and offers both free and paid subscription plans. Between paid and unpaid, it boasts a total of more than 500 million total subscribers.
“The success of iQiyi’s paid subscription model demonstrates the strong demand of Chinese audience for online-video platforms with high-quality content,” said Yu Gong, founder and CEO of iQiyi, in a statement.
In 2014, iQiyi hosted more than 60% of movies shown in Chinese theaters, as well as 400 “internet-only” movies. The company announced plans to add more domestic and international content throughout the following year, aiming to convert more of its free subscribers into paid subscribers.
Paid subscribers enjoy the service with fewer ads and have access to more content, including iQiyi’s original series, Lost Tomb.
In February, iQiyi became the first online video platform to broadcast CCTV’s Lunar New Year’s Gala when it was granted exclusive broadcasting rights to the event. The stream ended up breaking records for the most simultaneous viewers on a single online platform, with 14 million people watching, surpassing the number of viewers who streamed the 2014 World Cup.
If iQiyi’s success is an indication of China’s appetite for streaming video, that may be a sign of good things to come for Alibaba Group. The e-commerce giant announced on June 14 that it will launch an SVOD service in the country, though little information is yet known about the service’s pricing model