China’s digital video market has proven to be a particularly tough nut to crack for foreign players, but not so for Malaysia-based multi-channel network WebTVAsia.
Where SVOD giants like Netflix have failed — last spring talks around a potential partnership between the SVOD superpower and Wasu Media Holdings Co., a Chinese cable TV and broadband provider backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, broke down when Alibaba opted to launch its own streaming service, Tmall Box Office, in September — WebTVAsia has succeeded. It broke into the booming Chinese digital video market three years ago, despite its incredible insularity and rigorous regulation. The reason it did, says Desmond Ngai, the company’s vice president, strategy and partnerships, is because it was ahead of the curve.
Ngai co-founded WebTVAsia three years ago with Fred Chong (who serves as CEO for the entire company) and Soon Seng Chu (CEO for the Thailand division), and since then he’s helped grow the brand to more than 600 channels serving audiences in China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.