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U.S. Studios Fuel Video Arms Race in China

As Netflix executives publicly contemplate the company’s path into China, that country’s tech giants aren’t standing still. Firms like Xiaomi, Alibaba and especially Tencent are jockeying for position in the Chinese streaming market, striking licensing deals with U.S. studios for exclusive content.

And it’s becoming increasingly likely that the streaming ambitions of firms like Tencent and Alibaba extend beyond China’s borders, according to multiple U.S. media executives who’ve been in discussions with the firms. That could put those companies on a collision course with Netflix in China and elsewhere.

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The potential of the Chinese market is likely what makes the market attractive to Netflix as well, which has pushed to buy up the worldwide rights to TV shows and movies. But the amount of competition means expansion into China could be particularly tough. So far, the company’s top executives have been cautious about declaring any active plans to enter the country. But Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said “We’re anxious and open to all forms of doing business in China” on the company’s last earnings call.

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Joe Lonsdale
Joe Lonsdale
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“They want to get the China market locked up as quickly as possible. But the next piece is ‘What about the rest of the world?”