Netflix shares spiked as much as 3.5 percent in pre-market trading on Friday — to a 52-week high — after a report surfaced that CEO Reed Hastings was in talks to bring the video streaming service to China.
Early-stage discussions between Netflix and China’s Wasu Media Holding, which is backed by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, were held as part of the video streamer’s plan to go global by the end of 2016, according to the report.
The talks do not mean a deal will definitely be done, as there are huge hurdles to overcome — namely Chinese censors and objectionable content in some of the movies streamed by Netflix.
However, there does seem to be some momentum behind the talks.
“We would love to cooperate with Netflix considering its global influence,” Xu Feng, vice president of Shanghai-based BesTV New Media Co., told the Wall Street Journal. “But we need to take note of the obstacles, including policy restrictions on foreign online content.”
“There are a lot of operating constraints in China that are different to anywhere else,” Sarandos said. “We don’t have any operating partners anywhere else in the world, so that would be a new skill for us too.”
Netflix shares are up 72 percent this year. They closed Thursday at $586.85 — but had nosed above $600 in pre-market trading.