US-based video streaming service Netflix is looking to enter the lucrative China market, partnering with a local media company.
Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter, reported that Netflix is in talks with companies including the Jack Ma-backed Wasu Media Holding Company about forming a partnership in order to enter China's $5.9bn (£3.7bn, €5.2bn) online video market.
Netflix has already had talks with BesTV New Media, an Internet broadcaster owned by state-run Shanghai Media Group, the Wall Street Journal separately reported, citing an executive at BesTV.
A spokeswoman for Netflix told Bloomberg that the company plans "to be nearly global by the end of 2016".
Sources told WSJ that talks were in early stages and no decisions had been made.
Netflix is looking to capitalise on the expected explosive growth in online television in the most populous nation on earth. The online video market is expected to almost triple to CN¥90bn by 2018, according to Shanghai-based Internet consultant IResearch.
A local partner would enable Netflix to circumvent the nation's strict rules over online video.
Sources told the news agency that Netflix is looking for a partner that has streaming licence for content on all devices, including mobile phones, computers and set-top boxes.
Wasu, which operates cable TV and broadband networks in Hangzhou, is one of the companies that hold Internet TV licence in China. It earlier said it would sell a 20% stake to Alibaba chairman Ma and billionaire Shi Yuzhu.
Netflix's chief content officer Ted Sarandos earlier told investors that it intends to "try to figure out China and how to get there". The company does not intend to go to China without a partner, he said.
"We're open to all different models to get there eventually, because we want to be fully global," he said.
"And it's a pretty big chunk of the world to have an asterisk."