And that would-be competition is well-developed. Sites like Youku Tudou already boast strong numbers in the marketplace, meaning that Netflix couldn't easily muscle its way into homes.
But even if Netflix could exclusively offer content that Chinese consumers wanted, and also found a way to legally offer it, rampant piracy would likely still present a problem.
A domestic partner could help cut down on piracy by getting the government involved, Pachter said. But between illegal reproductions and the proliferation of ad-supported streaming services, Chinese consumers are simply not accustomed to paying for media content.
Ad-supported platforms, however, are seeing huge growth in China: Revenue for the online video market reached 6.81 billion yuan (about $1.10 billion) in the first quarter of 2015—a 74.7 percent year-over-year increase, according to consulting firm iResearch.
Still, some analysts see a future for Netflix in China. A Tuesday note from Pivotal Research Group's Jeffrey Wlodarczak forecast that the company would achieve 5 percent market penetration for China's broadband households by 2021.
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That research indicated Netflix could see 13.5 million Chinese subscribers by 2021, but Beijing's "Broadband China" initiative set a goal of 400 million broadband households by 2020—implying more than 20 million for Netflix at 5 percent penetration the following year.
Either way, Wlodarczak raised his price target from $650 per share to $850 on signs of a faster-than-anticipated rollout in China and South Korea.
That target isn't even Wall Street's largest, with one calling for a $900 stock price. Pachter, meanwhile, maintains a "sell" rating on the stock with a 12-month target of $270, according to FactSet.
But even Pachter admits that China may hold some kind of promise for the company. "Netflix would be foolish not to explore the Chinese market," he said.