‘Friends’ returns to China despite crackdown on American shows


By AGENCY

'Friends' makes a comeback in China. Photo: Filepic

Almost 20 years after NBC’s hit sitcom Friends aired its final episode, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey and Monica are coming back to China.

The show, one of the most popular American shows of its time, will be available on Tencent, Youku, IQiyi and Bilibili starting Feb 11 at a pace of one season per week.

It’s not the first time a Chinese audience will have access to Friends.

IQiyi first introduced the show in 2012; it has come and gone on a variety of local streaming services since.

The latest release is notable given China’s growing restrictions on American entertainment.

The number of US films released in China has fallen sharply in the last two years, and some of the most popular US television shows, including The Good Wife and The Big Bang Theory, have been unavailable since 2014.

The government requirement for streaming companies to seek approval to air foreign shows and movies came into effect in 2015. – Bloomberg

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