Netflix confirmed on Wednesday that it’s heading to Japan as part of its global expansion plans. The news came following a slew of reports earlier in the day claiming the service would soon launch in the Asian nation.
With more than 35 million broadband households and massive smartphone penetration among its population of almost 130 million, breaking into the Japanese market is certainly a big deal for the video-streaming giant.
Netflix said in January that it plans to hit 150 new markets within the next two years, with Japan set to join the family in the fall.
“With its rich culture and celebrated creative traditions, Japan is a critical component of our plan to connect people around the world to stories they love,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in a release.
Netflix competitor Hulu launched in Japan in 2011, and though the service continues to operate under the Hulu name, the business was actually bought by Nippon Television in a deal announced last year.
Netflix in China?
The video-on-demand service is currently exploring the possibility of launching in China, another hugely important market in Asia, though Hastings said recently its plans for the country were currently “modest.”
“We’ll learn a great deal if we can successfully operate a small service in China centered on our original and other globally licensed content,” Hastings told Netflix shareholders last month, though in a note of caution he added that the company would first need to get “the necessary permissions” from Chinese regulators.
The video-streaming company is also gearing up to launch its online offering in Australia and New Zealand, with a rollout scheduled for the two countries next month.
[Additional information: Netflix]