China’s largest online commerce company, Alibaba, is set to launch an online video streaming service in China that will be very similar to the US’s Netflix and HBO.
The service will be called Tmall Box Office, or TBO for short. Much like HBO, it will stream content bought from China and other countries, as well as in-house productions. The service will charge users on a monthly subscription, like Netflix. Ten percent of its content will be completely free.
“Our mission, the mission of all of Alibaba, is to redefine home entertainment,” Alibaba’s Patrick Liu told reporters. “Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States.”
Alibaba’s interest in online video streaming comes as many Chinese companies are forking out billions of dollars buying media content. Just last year, Tencent became the official provider of HBO content in China, allowing Chinese viewers to watch popular series such as Game of Thrones and The Newsroom.
TBO will be competing against other free online video providers, such as Youku and Tudou, in becoming China’s dominant video streaming site.
While Netflix is reportedly still working on entering China, TBO will officially launch in about two months.
By Sharon Choi