To tap the world’s second-largest economy, the US-based streaming company has been acquiring rights to Mandarin content and producing original with global appeal; thus, it is able to attract millions of Mandarin-speaking viewers outside of China.
Earlier this year, Netflix kicked off production of two original contents — Triad Princess in Taiwan and The Ghost Bride in Malaysia.
More recently, Netflix has inked a second deal with Alibaba Group Holding’s Youku video service to gain exclusive distribution rights outside of China for romantic comedy, I Hear You. It has also acquired rights to a Chinese sci-fi movie, The Wandering Earth, which was a top hit in China.
Due to complex government rulings, China — home to half the population of viewers in Asia-Pacific — has become a hurdle for Netflix to truly become a global purveyor of content. In 2017, Netflix partnered with iQiyi, one of China’s largest streaming platforms, to license some of its original content to gain a toehold on the China market.
However, the partnership ended after two years due to differences in film cultures. For instance, Netflix’s adult cartoon, BoJack Horseman, has stopped airing in iQiyi.
Netflix’s new China strategy is more at attracting Chinese overseas and unlikely to make any headway in China.