The Chinese streaming and multimedia company's share price saw big gains following news of successful early results for its cross-platform membership drive with JD.com -- one of China's largest e-commerce platforms. The stock also saw positive movement thanks to new content partnerships, an announcement that it had received a license for implementing its anti-piracy technology, and a series of other favorable developments.
On May 8, iQiyi revealed that it had signed an exclusive, three-year content distribution deal with FilmNation -- the American studio known for recent hits like Arrival and The Big Sick. The company's big news month was just getting started.
Shares climbed roughly 11% on May 9 following the publication of a press release that outlined the early results of its membership drive partnership with JD.com. iQiyi and JD.com announced their partnership on April 29, and less than two weeks later, the streaming video company said that the program had helped it add over a million new members to its paying-user rolls.
On May 10, iQiyi published a press release revealing that its digital rights management system for preventing piracy was the first in its category to be certified by ChinaDRMLab -- the country's top organization and a subdivision of the state-sponsored Academy of Broadcast Sciences. The next day, iQiyi opened its first brick-and-mortar theater location.
In an interview conducted on May 17, the company's CEO, Yu Gong, said that it was partnering with Tencent Holdings and Alibaba on content purchasing initiatives and that it plans to launch a short-form video service within the next three years. Favorable ratings coverage then helped push iQiyi stock even higher to close out the month.
iQiyi stock has continued to climb in June and is now up more than 90% from its IPO price, spurred on by evidence that the company is building up its strength in original content. iQiyi is concentrated on ramping up original content production and has the long-term goal of building a Disney-like business for the Chinese market.
China's online entertainment market is still growing at a rapid clip, and iQiyi is looking beyond the video space with plans to expand its merchandising and video game offerings in order to support its intellectual properties. The company is making some smart moves and still has a large and growing addressable market to tap into, so it could be a worthwhile investment for those seeking exposure to China's entertainment market.
Keith Noonan owns shares of iQiyi and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends JD.com, Tencent Holdings, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends iQiyi. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.