There's no cooling down at iQiyi (NASDAQ:IQ). Shares of China's leading streaming-video platform soared 15.3% last week. The stock has now rattled off double-digit percentage gains for three weeks in a row, soaring 63.4% in the process.
Shares of iQiyi moved higher after rolling out a kid-centric streaming app for smart TVs and being shortlisted for a festival award. Neither event would typically fuel a stock's rally -- much less the more than $3 billion in market cap that iQiyi tacked on last week -- but when momentum's on your side, sometimes just a whiff of a positive development is enough to get the bulls going.
iQiyi's Blue Amber is shortlisted for a pair of Asian New Talent awards at the upcoming Shanghai International Film Festival. The in-house produced film is being honored in the Best Film and Best Cinematography categories. Industry accolades are great, and it's really not much of a surprise. In the U.S., we're seeing the leading streaming services score major award wins, likely the result of having so much data on binge viewing habits that traditional networks don't have.
The festival news coincided with the stock's biggest daily pop last week, but it's a flimsy catalyst. Critical acclaim is nice, but we already know how well the platform is resonating with the consumers that really matter.
The other big development last week was the launch of QIYI Guo Kids Edition, the first streaming platform offering premium paid content for children in China. The ad-free smart TV app offers paying users access to 80,000 hours of video content geared to kids who are 12 years old or younger. Artificial intelligence doles out custom-tailored recommendations. QIYI Guo Kids Edition also offers English language and early educational programming, which are things that we know are easy outlays for China's growing middle class who are willing to pay up to give their kids a leg up on their peers.
We've seen several bunt singles out of iQiyi through the past three weeks of this monster rally. From a small analyst's bullish initiation to the debut of iQiyi's first on-demand movie theater, the news stories have been upbeat but likely minor developments in the eyes of investors. You don't nickel and dime your way to a 63% pop in three weeks.
The real driver here is the monster quarter that was posted in late April that showed accelerating revenue growth and a huge spike in premium subscribers. iQiyi has done it. It was a broken IPO shortly after its Wall Street debut, and now it's another double-digit percentage gain this week from more than doubling. Kid-friendly apps and festival nods are great, but there's a bigger success story here than those newsy tidbits suggest.