Netflix inks licensing deal with iQiyi, expands to China

"We still have a long term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually", Netflix representatives said in October of previous year, when the plan to share content with a Chinese provider was announced.

In 2016, Netflix ranked the No.3 in the global top mobile application list by revenue while iQiyi ranked the No.7 in the list, according to researcher App Annie.

Netflix has been crystal clear with its plans and it has been growing speedily after it expanded to worldwide markets including India a year ago.

Blocked by regulators from setting up shop within China's massive entertainment market, Netflix has instead signed a licensing deal with one of its most powerful local counterparts in the country.

Netflix spokespeople added they weren't able to share exactly when their content would make their Chinese debut as the deal was just newly struck. The Chinese company boasts more than half a billion monthly active users on its advertising supported platform.

But iQiyi's chief rival in China is Youku Tudou, the Alibaba-owned video-on-demand (VOD) platform with a very similar business model.

"Meanwhile, for all cooperation between iQiyi and its overseas partners, we will strictly follow relevant regulations. concerning overseas content", it said. IQIYI already has agreements with the BBC, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate, among others. But broader access to China had eluded Netflix - until now.

Outside of China, Netflix still faces some stiff competition in Asia-Pacific from both Amazon-which includes video content with its Prime Video subscription service in some markets-and local players in specific markets.

  • Jon Douglas