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Alibaba plans Netflix-like streaming service

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group is to launch an online video streaming service in China in about two months, with the aim of emulating services such as Netflix and HBO.

“Our mission, the mission of all of Alibaba, is to redefine home entertainment,” said Patrick Liu, head of digital entertainment. “Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States.”

The service will be called ‘TBO’, or Tmall Box Office, with content bought from China and other countries, as well as in-house productions, according to Liu.

It will launch into a competitive marketplace against the likes of Tencent, Baidu’s iQiyi, Sohu.com and LeTV. Alibaba also  bought a 16.5 per cent stake Youku Tudou Inc, one of China’s biggest video streaming platforms, in April 2014.

Netflix was reported mid-May 2015 to be discussing an entry into China with potential partners. Netflix would need a partner that has licences for content on all devices, including mobile phones, computers and set-top boxes.

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