Netflix Moves Into Asia With Four New Major Markets

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Netflix is continuing its global expansion with four major Asian regions – Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea — which it will enter early next year. The streaming firm aims to complete its global roll-out by the end of next year.

Netflix continues global roll-out

Initially, the firm will stream a selection of popular TV shows, movies and kid-friendly programming, most of which will come with local subtitles, the U.S. firm said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg on Wednesday. It also said that more details, including pricing, will be disclosed later.

Netflix entered New Zealand and Australia in March and also introduced its services in Japan this month. In Japan, where the number of broadband households is higher than all of its current markets except the U.S., the company is focusing heavily on local programming. The U.S. firm also partnered with Fuji Media Holdings to add more local content to its library for its debut. This marks the first instance in which the U.S. firm has made a debut in a foreign market with local content.

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China a hard nut to crack

Netflix has more than 65 million subscribers in 50 countries, and its stock has been the top performer in the S&P 500 Index this year due to its huge growth prospects. However, growing rivalry in the segment has brought down the company’s stock in recent weeks. Competition in the video streaming industry has become more intense with rivals boosting their online offerings for more viewers and dollars. Apart from Time Warner’s HBO, Hulu and Amazon, Apple is also expected to enter the industry soon.

In the U.S. and Europe, the competition is very intense, but most of Asia, except China, presents huge opportunities for streaming services. Netflix hopes to enter China next year, according to the Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, although the country was not mentioned in Netflix’s statement on Wednesday. The U.S. firm will face intense competition in the region from local players like Tencent, Baidu and Alibaba, which is already testing a Netflix-like service called Tmall Box Office.

On Tuesday, Netflix shares closed down 3.9% at $94.95, marking its seventh straight daily decline. Year to date, the stock is up 95%.