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Jack Ma-backed Wasu Media held talks with Netflix on internet TV
[NEW YORK] Wasu Media Holding Co, the Chinese media company backed by Jack Ma, has held talks with Netflix Inc. as the broadcaster of "House of Cards" seeks to enter China's US$5.9 billion online video market.
While Wasu "has talked with Netflix recently," it hasn't reached any "solid agreements on cooperation or content," the Chinese company said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Monday. Wasu's shares will resume trading in Shenzhen on Tuesday.
Netflix has held discussions with Chinese companies including Wasu, people with knowledge of the matter said on Friday, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, climbed 4.5 per cent to close at $613.25 in New York on Friday.
Entering China would let Netflix, the world's biggest video-streaming service, take advantage of what's forecast to be explosive growth in online TV. The market is estimated to almost triple to 90 billion yuan by 2018, according to Shanghai-based Internet consultant iResearch.
A local partnership would be essential given the Chinese government's strict controls over licensing of online content. Netflix wants a partner that has licenses for content on all devices - including mobile phones, computers and set-top boxes, according to the people. China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television has given Internet TV licenses to seven companies, including Wasu.
Mr Ma is chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, China's biggest e-commerce company.