BEIJING, Dec. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Gong Yu, CEO and founder of iQIYI, China's largest online video and entertainment service provider, has been named for the first time as one of top ten executives in China's entertainment industry by American leading media outlet The Hollywood Reporter (THR).
The China Power List, published by THR, focuses on the entertainment industry and places Tim Gong (Gong Yu) in the sixth spot along with 9 other executives "whose decisions drive the entertainment economy - from film to music and digital - and who can teach Hollywood a thing or two about how to drive growth," it noted.
The top ten players, which THR said helped shape the Chinese entertainment industry over the past 12 months, also include Pony Ma of China's internet giant Tencent Holding Limited in the top spot, Wang Jianlin, chairman of Dalian Wanda Group in second place. Jack Ma of Alibaba Group Holding Limited who is in third place in the list and veteran international action star Jackie Chan, in seventh, among the others named in the list.
Gong, 49, founded video streaming site iQIYI in 2010 which was originally known as QIYI and under his reign, the company has become the most popular streaming service provider in the world's most populous nation. The iQIYI app had been installed on 541 million mobile devices at the end of September, with users spending a combined 6.1 billion hours on the service in just one month alone. THR attributed much of iQIYI's success over the past seven years to Gong's "vision and stewardship".
The company has gained a foothold in the international market in recent years by securing deals with global partners including Netflix to provide some of its most popular dramas and online films to viewers outside the Chinese mainland.
The platform's innovative approach to its own original production has also paid off with several hugely popular shows sweeping China by storm. A 12-episode music contest show The Rap of China, which made its debut on iQIYI in July, became a cultural phenomenon in China this year.
The show, which brought hip-hop culture into the Chinese mainstream this year, attracted 2.68 billion views by September's season finale.
iQIYI is moving to strengthen its edge in original programming, planning to release more than 200 series, variety shows and other contents next year.
In an interview with THR, Gong likened iQIYI to "an online Disney" that not only has a subscription model like Netflix, but also embraces ad-supported content, online games developed from its original films and series, online malls to sell merchandise as well as online fiction services.
Gong graduated with a PhD in engineering and automation control from the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. Prior to iQIYI, he set up his own real estate website. When that was bought by online portal Sohu.com, Gong made the transition and climbed the corporate ladder.
Gong has also made to this year's Variety 500 list, an index of 500 most influential business leaders worldwide who shape the global US$2 trillion entertainment industry, according to Variety, another leading media platform specializing in the entertainment industry.
Gong is among the 20 Chinese who are recognized in Variety's global 500 entertainment leaders and icons list that also includes Jack Ma, Wang Jianlin, Jackie Chan and famed Chinese film and TV star Fan Bingbing, the only Chinese female featured in the list.