China Could Become Netflix's Biggest Foreign Market With 10M Subs, Analyst Says

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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings

Nomura's Anthony DiClemente also raises his forecast for the company's international user base to 94 million by 2020.

Nomura analyst Anthony DiClemente on Thursday raised his forecast for Netflix's international subscriber base in 2020 from 80 million to 94 million and boosted his target price on the company's stock.

"China could represent nearly 10 million subs assuming broadband penetration rates below 5 percent," he said in a report. "We estimate that Netflix should be able to ramp to 4.5 percent penetration across China’s estimated 240 million 2020 broadband households. At 10 million subscribers, China would represent Netflix’s largest international market."

Maintaining his "buy" rating on Netflix's stock and raising his target price from $600 to $750, DiClemente wrote: "We now estimate that Netflix should have an addressable market of 725 million-730 million households by 2020, for which we anticipate a penetration rate of 13 percent."

He added: "We believe a growing mix of global content license agreements will result in much higher longer-term operating margins versus Street estimates."

He cited that and a planned entry into China as two of three key drivers to "further long-term Netflix upside." The third is the company's "robust legacy international market growth profile," the analyst said.

The firm's current five largest international markets should continue to be key contributors. "We estimate that these markets, including the U.K., Canada, Brazil, Germany and Mexico, will comprise 35 percent-40 percent of net additions through 2020 and provide a significant runway for user growth in and of themselves," DiClemente said.

Twitter: @georgszalai