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Netflix enters China market with iQiyi deal

US streaming giant Netflix agreed to provide television series to Baidu’s, gaining access to the only major film market that had eluded the world’s largest paid video service.

Netflix has attempted to break into the China market in the past, but has acknowledged the “regulatory environment” was “challenging” in a letter to shareholders last year. The company also said it would rely on licensing content to existing streaming platforms in China instead, adding that it expected licensing revenues to be “modest.”

The licensing deal covers television dramas, animated series, documentaries and variety shows, iQiyi said in an emailed statement.

iQiYi, which is owned by Chinese search engine giant Baidu, has introduced many popular original series just like Netflix, but the company hasn’t yet made a profit since Baidu acquired it in 2013. Its content-production costs reached around 7.9 billion yuan last year, according to Baidu’s most recent earnings report.

“All of iQiyi’s overseas partnerships will strictly adhere to Chinese regulations on film and TV imports,” Yang Xianghuang, iQiyi senior vice president, said in the statement.

The latest seasons of original Netflix series such as Black Mirror, Stranger Things and Mindhunter will be made available to paying subscribers, iQIYI said in a statement.

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