China has been one of the largest markets that Netflix was mulling to enter for the past few years. In fact, the company had announced how it would favor licensing deals last year and now it has linked its first major deal on the Chinese soil with streaming service iQiyi. The Baidu owned iQiyi is a leading video streaming service in China with more than 500 million monthly viewers.
Now the deal mentions that the platform will show some of the Netflix content but it doesn’t mention which ones. Chinese regulatory bodies are too rigid to allow the companies to set up their services, in fact, Amazon and Netflix have both been steering clear of the Chinese market until now. Netflix is now trying to seal deals for the Mainland China. The streaming service had earlier inked a deal with House of Cards video service Sohu only to be pulled out by regulators later.
The iQiyi deal is expected to give the Netflix the visibility it needs in China and spread its foothold in the country. iQiyi has managed to raise $1.5-Billion in order to fund its new features and the distribution deals like the one it made with Netflix. The iQiyi is at loggerheads with other streaming services in China including Alibaba-owned Youku Tudou and services from Sohu and Tencent. Interestingly, LeEco, that was once hailed as the “Netflix of China” doesn’t seem to figure out in the race, this sets me thinking about the position of LeTV (Streaming Service) in China. Earlier last year, the company was touting 730 million monthly unique visitors a number which might have changed in the recent past.
Netflix has been crystal clear with its plans and it has been growing speedily after it expanded to International markets including India last year. Netflix has also shed light on its plans to raise $1 Billion in order to fuel their Original content productions and keep pace with the expansion plans.