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China’s Xiaomi to invest $1bn in content

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi is planning to invest US$1 billion in acquired TV programming.

Xiaomi, which is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker, has also hired Chen Tong, the former chief editor of web service Sina, as VP for content investments. He will work with director of internet TV products Chaun Wang on the push.

The company revealed its moves on its Weibo company blog, though it has not revealed how it plans to distribute the programming it acquires. It would only say that it would “repeat the success of Xiaomi’s hardware integration model in the television industry”.

Xiaomi has moved into TV through smart TV and set-top box manafacture, currently offering Chinese consumers a Xiaomi TV product.

The move is a bid to gain a foothold in China’s increasingly competitive on-demand market, and comes after web giant Baidu revealed a major new investment in programming for its on-demand service iQiyi.

Alibaba, the world’s largest e-commerce company, is set to buy a stake in US studio Lionsgate Entertainment, according to reports. Alibaba and Lionsgate are already launching an on-demand service together, but the former’s founder, Jack Ma, is keen to get a foothold in Hollywood.

Elsewhere, YouTube-style video platforms Tencent and Youku Tudou have been buying international formats and planning their own versions in their attempts to lead the market.