Netflix is making a concrete effort to enter the Chinese digital video market. The streaming giant’s been in talks with Chinese media companies such as Wasu Media Holdings about partnering on the expansion, as first reported by Bloomberg.
Wasu’s not the only media company in China Netflix has been in talks with, according to the report, though no others were named. Coming to China wouldn’t exactly be a smooth move for Netflix, hence the need for a partnership with a local media company, especially one that can license content for various devices, from mobile phones to connected TVs.
Wasu has that ability, though Bloomberg said the company did not comment on its possible partnership with Netflix. In fact, Wasu started making set-top boxes in 2013 with Alibaba Group, and it runs multiple TV networks in Hangzhou, China, were it’s based.
Netflix’s original content, too, won’t necessary have an easy entry into China, which has some strict censorship rules — videos that are too offensive, whether violent, sexual, or otherwise, can be vetoed by the government. Since the streaming service is relying heavily on its original programming as a market strategy going forward, as CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells explained in the company’s Q1 earnings report letter to shareholders, this may mean a change in strategy for the service if it moves to China.
Netflix has already extended its “world takeover” plan into Asia, having confirmed that it will launch in Japan in fall 2015, the third largest market behind just the US and, of course, China. At the time of Netflix’s Japan announcement, Hastings said that the company had made “modest” steps towards getting into China.