Netflix ( NFLX ) admitted defeat in 2016, saying at the time that "the regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China [had] become challenging."
It later licensed popular shows such as "Black Mirror" and "Stranger Things" to video streaming platform iQIYI, a subsidiary of Chinese search engine Baidu ( BIDU ).
Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNNMoney in 2016 -- after DisneyLife was shut down -- that the company still had "a great opportunity to grow" in China despite its regulatory challenges.
He said one of the reasons Disney decided to build a multi-billion dollar Shanghai theme park was because it couldn't launch a TV channel in the country.
Tim Westcott, an analyst at research firm IHS Markit, said the content deal announced Monday is "a good partnership for Disney."
"Alibaba is one of the handful of local players with streaming licenses, and it already has deals with NBC Universal and Sony ( SNE )."
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