Hong Kong Billionaire Said to Plan African Rival to Netflix

Hong Kong Billionaire Said to Plan African Rival to Netflix

Richard Li (AP Photo)
Richard Li (AP Photo)

(Bloomberg) – PCCW Ltd., controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, is planning a video-on-demand service for South Africa that would compete with Netflix Inc. and Naspers Ltd.’s ShowMax, according to two people familiar with the matter.

PCCW’s HKT unit will unveil the entertainment service as early as next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified as the product isn’t public yet. Telecommunications conglomerate PCCW bought a majority stake in mobile video-on-demand service Vuclip in March and plans to expand the service into new markets, including Africa.

Streaming services are targeting Africa as wireless networks become more widespread and reliable, allowing the delivery of video in a region where landlines are scarce. Local users access content on mobile devices produced by companies such as Nigeria’s IRoko Partners Ltd.

Li, younger son of Cheung Kong Holdings Ltd. Chairman Li Ka-shing, is looking for growth beyond telecommunications, which provided almost 86 percent of PCCW’s sales last year. Its Vuclip video business has 7.5 million subscribers, about 6 million of them in India.

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