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Netflix CEO: China may eventually let us in

The mega-popular streaming service is available virtually everywhere except China, but that may not be the case forever.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announces at CES 2016 that the streaming service is expanding into 130 new countries, with China being a major exception.


Netflix earlier this month expanded its video-streaming service to nearly every country in the world except China.

China may not be the notable exception forever, though. CEO Reed Hastings said Tuesday that Netflix has been meeting with China's regulators in hopes of bringing the service there.

"It may be soon that we have a license in China, or it may take a couple years, but we're going to be very patient," Hastings said at the Digital Life Design Conference in Munich, Germany, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Though he flirted with the idea that Los Gatos, California-based Netflix could arrive in China sooner rather than later, Hastings said: "We're looking forward to a time, a decade or two decades from now, when the Chinese middle class will want and embrace the kind of content that we have."

The citizens of China aren't without a streaming service, though, with e-commerce giant Alibaba last September launching Tmall Box Office. Despite that, there appears to still be a thirst for Netflix. Research firm GlobalWebIndex estimates that there to be over 20 million people in China accessing the service through a virtual private network, though Netflix's recent announcement that it will crack down on VPN use could end that.

Last January, Hastings acknowledged he was "exploring options" for China, saying "we need to get a license" while acknowledging that wasn't "100 percent clear we'll be able to do that." On Tuesday in Germany, he pointed at Apple as an example of patience paying off, noting that it took six years of negotiating and relationship-building for Apple to bring the iPhone to China.