With that simple tweet, Netflix on Monday announced its Cuban expansion — one of the first American companies to take advantage of President Obama’s edict to reopen diplomatic ties between the United States and its longtime foe.
Launching Netflix in Cuba is part of Netflix’s global expansion effort, with China and Japan among those next.
Netflix first entered Latin America in 2011 and now has 5 million subscribers in the region, it says.
“We’ve said we intend for Netflix to be a global service and, until now, Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere where we have been legally unable to operate according to U.S. law,” said Netflix spokeswoman Victoria Ferreira.
However, the expansion is largely symbolic. Although Netflix will be available throughout the entire country of Cuba, it will require Internet access and an international credit or debit card, which only a sliver of the Cuban population has.
About 26% of Cubans have some access to the Internet, but that access is often slow, and would be unable to stream video, says William LeoGrande, an expert on Cuba at American University and is co-author of Back Channel to Cuba: The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Emma S Hinchliffe