China’s answer to Netflix is going public on the New York stock exchange.

iQiyi is hoping to raise at least $1.5 billion in its offering to allow it to battle with rivals such as Alibaba’s Youku and Tencent Video.

Despite having around 50 million subscribers (just under half of Netflix’s subscriber count), the tech company is still operating at a loss. In 2017 it lost $574 million. The video-on-demand service is the biggest in China but it must continually invest in content to attract subscribers.

iQiyi is owned by Chinese internet firm Baidu which can fund it, but doesn’t have the same deep pockets as Tencent and Alibaba, hence the need to go public, according to CNN.

So far though, iQiyi has inked some impressive enough deals with Netflix, Paramount, the BFI, and the Venice Film Festival to bring major Western films to China.

How does iQiyi viewership compare to Western equivalents?

Unlike Netflix, iQiyi does release viewing figures as part of its website design.

To put all this in context, the most-watched non-event television broadcast of all time in the USA was the finale of M*A*S*H on 28 February, 1983. It was watched by 105.9 million viewers. This number pales in comparison to some of the films released on iQiyi.

For example, the first episode of a popular television series on iQiyi, Negotiator (name translated through Google) has had 1.37 billion views – the company claims..

As iQiyi is also the Chinese home of many popular Western movies, we’ve tried to work out roughly how many people have watched them on iQiyi compared to how many people watched them in cinemas in the US. We did this by dividing the films’ total US box office gross by the average price of a cinema ticket in the year they were released.

These are the top most-highly rated 10 Western films on iQiyi at the time of writing. Interestingly, only Avatar and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them were watched by more US viewers than Chinese viewers, though no doubt that will change in the future.

What’s more interesting is the number of obscure western films like Gold and Patriots Day which have, against all odds, become favourites on iQiyi


Release date: 20 October 2017

3 Things That Will Change the World Today

Viewers in US cinemas: 23.29 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 33.87 million

How To Train Your Dragon:

Release date: 26 March 2010

Viewers in US cinemas: 27.57 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 516.75 million


Release date: 21 December 2016

Viewers in US cinemas: 31.69 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 421.60 million


Release date: 17 December 2009

Viewers in US cinemas: 96.38 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 63.79 million

Patriot’s Day: 

Release date: 21 December 2016

Viewers in US cinemas: 3.74 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 24.95 million


Release date: 30 December 2016

Viewers in US cinemas: 0.84 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 0.98 million

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them:

Release date: 18 December 2015

Viewers in US cinemas: 27.76 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 16.42 million

Murder On The Orient Express: 

Release date: 3 November 2017

Viewers in US cinemas: 11.51 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 18.12 million

Thor: Ragnarok:

Release date: 3 November 2017

Viewers in US cinemas: 35.25 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 67.99 million


Release date: 5 November 2014

Viewers in US cinemas: 23.01 million

Viewers on iQiyi: 24.33 million