On March 14, video website iQIYI, which previously announced its U.S.-based listing, set terms for its listing on Nasdaq by the end of March with the ticker symbol “IQ”. On Feb. 14, Baidu’s revenue report revealed iQIYI’s listing plan, including its prospectus submission on Feb. 28. iQIYI’s stock price range and other details are not disclosed.
On Feb. 28, iQIYI submitted a prospectus to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to apply for listing on Nasdaq. According to the prospectus, iQIYI plans to raise $1.5 billion in the IPO. iQIYI’s total revenue in 2017 was $2.671 billion (17.378 billion yuan), up by 54.6 percent from 2016’s $1.775 billion (11.237 billion yuan). From 2015 to 2017, the net losses were $407 million (2.575 billion yuan), $485 million (3.074 billion yuan), and $509 million (3.736 billion yuan), respectively. In these three years, the net loss continuously increased, but the net loss rate decreased at -48 percent, -28 percent and -22 percent, respectively.
By the end of December 2017, iQIYI had 50.8 million subscribers. The prospectus submitted on Feb. 12 showed 42.7 million subscribers as of Sept. 30, 2017, meaning iQIYI gained 8.1 million new members in Q4 2017. This quarterly growth rate of 18.97 percent puts iQIYI at the same level of Netflix. Netflix had nearly 117.6 million global subscribers as of Dec. 31, 2017, according to its earnings report. In Q4 2017, Netflix gained 8.3 million new users (1.98 million from the U.S. and 6.36 million globally), hitting a quarterly high.
In December 2016, Youku President Wedong Yang issued an internal letter announcing the number of Youku members reached 30 million. In September 2017, Tencent Video disclosed that it had over 43 million members. Now, iQIYI may be listed on Nasdaq with as high as 60 million members assuming a projected growth rate. Paid subscription memberships, a model previously doubted by many, have become the mainstream trend.
Since the Spring Festival, film has brought in a new wave of paid media content. Both iQIYI and Youku have produced movies that earned $4.7 million (30 million yuan), breaking the record of $4.1 million (26 million yuan) in 2017. The growth rate of paid subscriptions like Youku, iQIYI and Tencent over the next quarterly period is likely to exceed the Q4 2017 rates. If this proves to be true, when iQIYI is listed on Nasdaq at the end of March, iQIYI will become China’s first network video platform with over 60 million subscribers.