Shanghai Film Festival: China's Alibaba to Launch Netflix-Like Streaming Service

Alibaba chief Jack Ma

The Internet giant announced that it will launch the service, called TBO, in two months time.

China's Alibaba has announced that it will launch an online video streaming service in the country in the next two months. 

At the Shanghai Film Festival on Sunday, Alibaba digital chief Patrick Liu said the new service would be called TBO (Tmall Box Office) and will look to bring in content from outside China as well as promote in-house productions. Liu said that 90 percent of TBO's content will be paid for — either through monthly subscriptions or on a pay-per-view basis — with the remaining 10 percent available for free. 

Reuters reports that Liu has taken inspiration directly from U.S. video-streaming giants: "Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States."

Complicating the launch of TBO is Alibaba's 16.5 percent stake in Youku Tudou, China's biggest streaming video company and one of the most aggressive movers in securing exclusive content for its own platform. 

TBO also launches at a time when all of China's giant Internet companies are getting into the movie and television streaming business and ahead of Netflix's expected entrance in the country. The likes of Baidu, Tencent, iQiyi and Sohu are scrambling to acquire content from both home and abroad, as well as produce content in a bid to attract consumers to their fledgling online video services. 

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