June 15, 2015
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Netflix should be very flattered indeed.
Chinese retailing powerhouse Alibaba, announced Sunday it has plans to launch a streaming video service modeled after Netflix and HBO.
“Our goal is to become like HBO in the United States, to become like Netflix in the United States,” Alibaba digital entertainment group president Patrick Liu said during a seminar in Shanghai.
Dubbed TMall Box Office, or TBO for short, the service will offer subscription premium on-demand video content, aiding the eRetailer in its plans to expand its product offerings and plump up the company’s annual revenue of $4.2 billion.
If Alibaba’s TBO-streaming service is successful, it could mean the company will again follow in Netflix’s footsteps by creating its own original content as well.
While Netflix and HBO have little to fear from Alibaba for now — CEO and founder Jack Ma has not indicated he wants to go head-to-head with either service thus far, it doe not mean that will always be the case.
Ma has said in the past that he is focused on building partnerships with businesses to sell U.S. goods online, but if TBO is a major hit, there is no guarantee he will not want to expand to North America at a later time.