Netflix Considering China Deal With Wasu Holdings, Backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma (Report)

Streaming company reportedly seeking local partnership in region that counts 1.4 billion potential users

Netflix is considering an expansion to China with Wasu Media, a holdings group backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, according to a new report.

The move would place the streaming video company in a booming region that counts nearly 700 million internet users, according to statistics released by the Chinese government in February.

Netflix is specifically looking for a partner with that has a streamlined licensing across devices like smartphones, tablets, desktops and set-top boxes, an unidentified individual told Bloomberg.

Netflix and Wasu have not yet returned TheWrap’s request for comment.

Appearing at conversation on the Cannes Palais Friday, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos discussed entering foreign markets — a move at the forefront of his vision to brand Netflix as a global company. A vision not shared by all as an audience member heckled the executive, complaining that Netflix doesn’t have to foot a tax bill toward local productions abroad.

“Are you aware that in five, 10, 15 years, you will destroy the current ecosystem of film production in Europe?” the heckler asked. Sarandos said he felt the company would “grow the European film ecosystem” by providing a platform from international filmmakers.

“For every country we know what we want to do, but in China we are still exploring our options,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a January interview. Foreign licensing aside, there’s also strict content censorship in place from the government.

“We would love to cooperate with Netflix considering its global influence,” Xu Feng, vice president of Shanghai’s BesTV New Media Co, told the Wall Street Journal. “But we need to take note of the obstacles, including policy restrictions on foreign online content.”

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