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Competition is becoming stiffer in China’s lucrative video streaming business. After Netflix announced in late April that it had entered into a licensing agreement with iQiyi, a streaming giant in the country, another Chinese entertainment giant announced plans to also go into video streaming.

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Mtime Online Cinema

The Dalian Wanda Group, owned by China’s richest man and operator of the biggest cinema chain in the country, now wants to enter Chinese homes by launching sometime in 2017 its own video streaming website. The service, to be called Mtime Online Cinema, would also be the new ticketing platform of Dalian Wanda, rebranded as Wanda Film Holding Co., said John Zeng, president of the entertainment giant which would spend a lot of time planning for the video streaming service.

He explained it involves a lot of video technology, copyright issues and business model issues. The company could not just roll out a simple app, Zeng said, China Film Insider reported.

When Mtime Online Cinema goes online, it would be the fourth major internet company to offer video streaming service. The three others are Baidu which operates iQiyi, Alibaba that owns Youku-Tudou and the video platforms of Tencents.

Local Competition

iQiyi has been operating the past seven years in China. The Baidu-owned video streaming platform has licensing agreements with major Hollywood studios such as Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and Warner Bros. Netflix, the new partner of iQiyi, has almost 100 million subscribers in almost 200 nations, except China.

Lindsay Connor, a China expert with Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, said it was smart on the part of Netflix to work around the country’s strict censorship law and entry of foreign companies by partnering with Baidu. The deal with Baidu is a valuable compromise for Netflix since Chinese regulators deal with Baidu as the domestic distributor of movies while allowing Netflix to earn from its content, LA Times reported.