Netflix is getting ready to enter the Asian market: The video streaming service will launch in Japan this fall. News of the expansion first broke on Twitter Wednesday afternoon, with CNBC reporter Julia Borstin tweeting that “sources familiar with the situation” had told the network Netflix was going to Japan this fall. A Netflix spokesperson initially declined to comment when contacted for this story, but the service eventually confirmed the news on Twitter:
In a press release issued Wednesday afternoon, Netflix said that it promoted its Chief Partnerships Officer Greg Peters, who speaks Japanese, to become the general manager of Netflix Japan. The release also quotes Netflix CEO Reed Hastings:
“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. As we expand into Asia, we’re excited Netflix members increasingly will have access to some of their favorite movies and TV shows no matter where they are.”
Netflix surprised investors last month when executives announced as part of the company’s Q4 earnings that they wanted to complete the company’s international expansion to a total of 200 countries within the next two years. Netflix currently operates in close to 50 countries, and has announced that it is going to launch in Australia and New Zealand next month.
The majority of Netflix customers still reside in the U.S., but the company has for some time seen more growth in international markets. In fact, late last year, Netflix added two international subscribers for every new domestic subscriber.
Some international markets have in the past proven challenging for Netflix. In Latin America, for example, the company initially struggled with payment problems. But it has since managed to turn the situation around, and now has more than five million subscribers across that region.
The launch in Japan will be the first time Netflix has entered the Asian market, which comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. Japan in particular is a very mobile-centric country, which Netflix should be well-prepared for: The company has been heavily investing in its mobile experience over the past couple of months.
Content and regulatory issues could also be challenging, especially as Netflix looks to take its service to other markets in Asia in its quest to cover the entire world by the end of next year. China is heavily regulated, and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had to admit during the company’s most recent earnings call that it isn’t certain that Netflix will get a license to operate in China.
This post was updated at 4:38pm with Netflix’s official confirmation.