Netflix poised for elusive China breakthrough

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Netflix has reached an agreement with a unit of internet giant Baidu that could see the US-based video-on-demand leader break into the massive China market, its Chinese partner has confirmed.

The Baidu-run video platform iQiyi.com said it reached a content-licensing deal on Tuesday with Netflix, whose service is currently blocked in China but whose programmes are widely pirated.

Popular Netflix shows such as "Black Mirror" and "Stranger Things" could potentially be available for viewing by subscribers in China at the same time they are released in the United States, iQiyi said in a statement.

Earlier reports of the deal had caused Netflix stock to close 5.8 percent higher on the Nasdaq market on Tuesday.

"As iQiyi’s content partner, Baidu and Netflix will both pay attention to the trend of global content creation and the development of high-quality content," iQiyi senior vice president Yang Xianghua was quoted as saying in the statement.

The statement, however, appeared to indicate that the content would be subject to Chinese censorship.

"Meanwhile, for all cooperation between iQiyi and its overseas partners, we will strictly follow relevant regulations... concerning overseas content," it said.

The iQiyi statement said the partnership would help to curb "pirating" and would provide licensed and high-definition online streaming content for Chinese users.

No other details were given.

The pact is a licensing deal with multiple shows, a Netflix spokeswoman said in an email to Bloomberg News.

Netflix calls itself the world’s leading internet television network, with more than 98 million members in over 190 countries.

It had previously reached deals to distribute individual shows on Chinese platforms but failed to establish a sustained presence in China, the last major market where it is absent.