GHY’s CEO Mr. Guo Jingyu shares how his passion for high quality entertainment content has motivated him to develop innovative drama productions and live performances.
kopi-C is a regular column by SGX Research in collaboration with Beansprout that features C-level executives of leading companies listed on SGX. These interviews are profiles of senior management aimed at helping investors better understand the individuals who run these corporations.
From staging Mandopop king Jay Chou’s concerts during his Carnival World Tour to creating the hit series “Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty”, GHY has been behind some of the most high-profile events and entertainment series of late.
A rising star in Asia’s media and entertainment industry, the firm is headquartered in Singapore and China with over 130 employees. Drama productions form a core foundation of GHY’s business model, with content spanning various genres like the supernatural, action, mystery and Nanyang genre.
In recent years, it has embarked on a massive push for more Singapore-China collaborations to create more original entertainment content, explains Mr. Guo Jingyu, GHY’s Executive Chairman and Group CEO.
Mr. Guo has close to 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry, and has received numerous nominations and wins under various awards in China for his work as a director, producer and scriptwriter for multiple TV drama series.
“We find that movies, dramas and entertainment content can create shared bonds for greater understanding and appreciation of one another's culture, which GHY aims to achieve," says Mr. Guo.
Putting up great shows
What many may know GHY for is the production of concerts for well-known international artistes in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.
Since COVID-related restrictions were lifted in late 2022, concerts and live performances resumed in full force.
When GHY staged the Jay Chou Carnival World Tour concerts in Singapore in December 2022 and KL, Malaysia and Sydney, Australia in the first quarter of 2023, tickets for these shows were completely sold out.
The group was also a co-organiser of the rock legends Guns N' Roses concert and Rock Duo Power Station concert in Singapore in 2022.
More recently, the Group announced that it will be the organiser for Jay Chou concert this December in Bangkok at Thailand’s largest stadium. In addition, the Group has invested in a series of Jay Chou's Carnival World Tour concerts in China that were held in August 2023 and September 2023.
Going forward, GHY will have a slate of new entertainment content, including live drama performances and immersive theatre experiences, among others.
Outside of concert productions, Mr. Guo shares that GHY has lined up several exciting developments.
It recently completed the filming of the long-form drama, “Strange Tales of Tang Dynasty: Journey to the West”, as well as a series of short-form drama spin-offs of the drama characters, plotlines, and internet characters.
In the series, fairies, demons, beasts, exotic legends and all kinds of magical and peculiar creatures abound. The intriguing story follows the story of Commander Lu (Head of Imperial Army) and local sheriff Su Wu Ming, an unlikely pair who solve strange cases that plague the thriving Tang dynasty.
Since the show aired last September, it quickly became one of the most-watched mystery action period drama series in China last year, attaining top viewership on Chinese streaming giant iQIYI.
In addition, the company is continuing to leverage on the Nanyang genre as its “unique IP strength”, integrating its production capabilities, deep experience and strong network in Southeast Asia, says Mr. Guo.
For instance, the broadcast of "The Little Nyonya" drama series in 2020 and "Sisterhood” drama series in 2023 achieved strong viewership on China Central Television and iQIYI, and generated a global interest in Southeast Asia’s distinctive cultural heritage. Filming for its third and final drama of the Nanyang genre "Nanyang Transport Volunteers” will start in early 2024.
There is also a pipeline of new drama productions in the other genres that are in the script development phase.
Readying itself for future challenges and opportunities
Despite its growing success, the company has weathered through its share of tough setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2022, one of its drama productions was postponed, and the concert productions and musical performances were also disrupted. The company suffered a loss for the first time since the group was established.
Despite the blows it suffered, Mr. Guo was confident that the company could tide through the crisis.
From an early stage, the management knew that focusing on various types of content would only yield short-term positive effects if the firm did not build on its intellectual property (IP).
This was why GHY has developed a strong IP franchise business strategy as the future roadmap for its drama and film production business activities.
Besides expanding its IP franchise strategy, it is also constantly looking for ways to diversify its revenue streams.
For instance, when there are slower periods of drama production business activities, the revenue from its concert and live performance business activities is expected to help support the company’s financial performance, says Mr. Guo.
Additionally, it is looking to tap emerging sectors like the rising popularity of short videos on Chinese streaming platforms.
As of July 2022, GHY has attracted more than 1 billion viewers across its published short drama content, with each series garnering up to 150 million viewers.
It also plans to continue to attract a broader base of millennials and Gen Z audiences with the production of more short drama series.
Guiding the company forward
On his leadership style, Mr. Guo attributes his upbringing to having shaped his core values.
“I lacked formal higher education but gained practical experience over the years. With almost two decades as a director, it means that I am involved in people-related work daily, emphasising team development, valuing collaborators, opinions, and even respecting competition,” says Mr. Guo.
Thanks to his love and continuous study of classical culture and philosophy, it has led him to “embrace and go with the flow” — an ethos which he applies to the business expansion plans too.
Mr. Guo says his “passion for culture and an unwavering pursuit of high-quality entertainment content” is his greatest motivation. He also derives great satisfaction from the recognition and endorsement of the younger generation when he and his team have pushed boundaries.
He says, “Being able to attain achievements and accolades in my beloved industry brings a sense of honour and affirmation, continually energising me. I strongly believe in seizing the day and not wasting time, hence my passion remains high and my commitment is unwavering.”
Outside of work, Mr. Guo says that spending time with family brings him the “greatest joy.” Mr. Guo also enjoys learning and writing calligraphy, which he says cultivates character, nurtures the body, and puts him in a different emotional state of mind.
And when he’s not doing those, you can be sure to find him tuned into the latest shows.
He says with a laugh, “I sleep pretty well, unless I am binge-watching shows produced by GHY!”
About G.H.Y Culture & Media Holding Co. Ltd.
Listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, GHY is a leading diversified group within Asia's media and entertainment industry. GHY has produced several dramas and films in the PRC, Singapore and Malaysia that have been broadcasted and/or distributed on major TV networks and leading video streaming platforms in the PRC. The Group has also undertaken the production of concerts for well-known international artistes in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia. Currently headquartered in Singapore and the PRC with over 130 employees, the Group also engages in concert production, talent management services, and costumes, props and make-up services as well as the production of musical plays.
The company’s website is https://ghyculturemedia.com/
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Toh Ee Ming
Toh Ee Ming is a freelance journalist and writer in Singapore.