Why “Netflix and Chill” when you can iQIYI and Calligraphy?
By Kathryn Aquino
October 20, 2016
Today the #YLFPChina group got a behind the scenes tour of the most popular video streaming company in China followed by a personal calligraphy lesson from one of BLCU’s admired professors.
This visit started in downtown Beijing, where the bustling streets are just a fraction of the action and buzz occurring in the sky scrapers looming above. We entered into one of the glass giants and were greeted by the friendly, green iQIYI logo when the elevator doors opened on the sixth floor. iQIYI was founded in 2010 by the former CEO of SOKU, the equivalent of YouTube in China, as a free video streaming site. The iQIYI mission statement is to provide equal and convenient access to high quality videos. With a service model similar to Spotify, iQIYI provides a VIP membership boasting video access free of ads and with a full selection of shows, games, and more for the price of $25 a year. With over 20 million VIP users, iQIYI creates its own online exclusive shows and likewise offers shows from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA. In 2014, iQIYI launched its own film company and has grown to over 2,500 employees spanning 6 locations throughout China.
Our visit to the iQIYI headquarters in Beijing was a fun portrayal of current Chinese culture and entertainment. Where some of the shows offered were similar to ones commonly watched in the States, like dating shows and singing competitions, others like shows documenting celebrities going back to school or interactive virtual reality shows left me wondering when and if shows like these would reach American tvs.
After the modern, cultural excitement of iQIYI, it was time to wind our day down with an ancient Chinese past time. As the group entered the Traditional Chinese Culture Experience Zone of BCLU we were greeted by our Calligraphy instructor for the evening, Professor Jong. Calligraphy brushes, ink and practice sheets patiently awaited each of our artistic touches.
The art of calligraphy uses six basic lines to compose Chinese characters. Professor Jong led the class in each line, emphasizing parts in the lines where more or less pressure is applied to the brush to make the stroke distinct. He led us in writing two characters: horse and dragon. After mimicking his brushstrokes and writing out each character on our thin practice paper, it was time to create our final masterpiece.
The day’s activities perfectly encapsulated the Chinese culture we have witnessed and learned about on this trip – a culture pulsing ahead with innovation and ingenuity while all the while keeping grounded with respect and attention to tradition.
Stay tuned for more! The Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters is up next!
Kathryn Aquino currently serves as the Delivery Coordinator at Porsche Cars North America where she is the main point of contact for all New Vehicle Deliveries at the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, and eventually in Los Angeles, CA. Prior to her position at Porsche, Kathryn worked as the Operations Coordinator for Power 10, where she managed the implementation of all corporate communications and forms of media. Kathryn graduated magna cum laude from Oglethorpe University in May 2015, with a degree in International Studies and minor in Communications and Sociology
Impassioned by travel and cross-cultural learning, Kathryn Aquino is thrilled to be part of the China Fellowship program. Kathryn enthusiastically serves on the Executive Board Social Committee of the Young Leaders of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and has been involved with the Council since her time as a program intern in 2013. Kathryn is extremely grateful to the Council and all its partners for providing her this once in a lifetime opportunity!
Homma Rafi | YLFPChina Media Contact
Office of International Initiatives, Georgia State University