Netflix is a streaming giant, offering its services in all of North America, South America, parts of Europe (including the UK, Ireland, Germany, and France), and Australia, among other countries (a Japanese launch is coming this fall). Netflix has over 40 million customers in the United States, and 60 million total globally. During Q1 2015 (PDF), its subscribers streamed more than 10 billion hours of programming.
As growth in the U.S. market has slowed, Netflix is increasingly turning its attention towards expanding into more global markets. And what better way to significantly boost its international presence than to take the Chinese market by storm?
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Netflix is currently in the early stages of negotiations with respect to bringing its streaming service to China, and will have to tip-toe around numerous land mines in the process such as the country’s often heavy-handed approach to censorship. Netflix is said to be working with two homegrown online broadcasters, BesTV and Wasu, to get its efforts off the ground.
“We would love to cooperate with Netflix considering its global influence,” lauded BesTV New Media VP Xu Feng. Likewise, Wasu is eager to partner with Netflix to offer its content on as many devices as possible in China, including mobile phones.
Netflix originals like House of Cards are extremely popular in China, and both the first and second seasons of the show have been streamed in the country via Sohu.com. However, the third season is not “legally” available in China yet, as regulators are still combing through every episode to spot any objectionable material. For this reason, House of Cards season 3 has been a prime target of Chinese pirates.
Netflix’s name sprang up in the news earlier this week when it was revealed that it is in the running to pickup ex Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond for a new automotive-themed series, tentatively titled House of Cars.