With Netflix planning to expand into China in the near future, the country’s own technology giants have been preparing their own Netflix competitors in advance. Xiaomi has expressed its own commitment to digital entertainment already, but now it looks like Alibaba is joining in as well, as Reuters is reporting that the company will be launching its own paid subscription service known as Tmall Box Office (TBO) in a couple of months.
Alibaba will be launching its paid subscription service Tmall Box Office (TBO) in a mere two months, Reuters reported yesterday. Liu Chunning, president of Alibaba’s Digital Entertainment Business, announced at a press conference in Shanghai that he wants to create a whole new family entertainment experience, elaborating that “our goal is to become like Netflix in the US, HBO in the US.” Contrary to the established business model of market leader Youku/Tudou, Liu intends that subscriptions will be needed for about 90 percent of the content slated to be available on the platform. Liu stated that both monthly subscriptions and pay per view mechanism were being considered as payment options. This is just the latest news in an ongoing series of announcements by China-based companies vying for an increased share of the US$1.09 billion online video market. This announcement follows closely on the tail of news at last week’s Xiaomi Beijing product launch where CEO Lei Jun reiterated his position on Xiaomi’s digital entertainment platform. Lei Jun announced that Xiaomi is continuing to invest significantly in its digital entertainment business, having formed 100 new content partnerships since the beginning of this year. At last estimate Xiaomi had pledged US$1 billion for its emerging platform and had content partnerships with 10 out of 12 of the top content producing websites in China.