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Netflix throws the towel in on China

The People's Republic of China is proving too difficult a regulatory minefield for the company to navigate, it said in a letter to shareholders.

Claire Reilly/CNET

Earlier this year, Netflix launched in pretty much every country -- except China. That hasn't changed 10 months later, and it looks like it won't.

The company on Monday told shareholders that it's ditching efforts to bring its popular streaming service to the People's Republic, the world's most populous nation. Instead, it'll sell its shows, like "Narcos" and "Daredevil", to Chinese media companies.

"The regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China has become challenging," the report read. "We now plan to license content to existing online service providers in China rather than operate our own service in China in the near term."

Netflix certainly isn't the only company to have regulatory troubles in China, a country that can be tough on foreign entities. Apple, for instance, despite investing heavily in China has had many run-ins with the Chinese government and local authorities.

Netflix hasn't completely given up on the country though. It was also noted that, "We still have a long term desire to serve the Chinese people directly, and hope to launch our service in China eventually."

While the company's inability to directly tap into the People's Republic may be a disappointment, it's got plenty to smile about. Netflix on Monday reported skyrocketing profit and membership numbers, causing its shares to soar 19 percent in after-hours trading.