Xiaomi’s expanding aspirations in the smart TV market have been boosted by news that it plans to invest some of its $1 billion [£630 million] fund for the sector into China’s largest online video company.
The Chinese hardware manufacturer has entered into a strategic partnership with Youku Tudou and plans to buy stock on the open market, although it hasn’t yet clarified the number of shares it will buy, according to Tech Crunch.
“Youku Tudou’s ability in producing original content will provide strong support to the Xiaomi family of hardware by making the user experience more compelling, and will help to boost average revenue per user,” read a joint statement.
Xiaomi’s investment in Youku Tudou means the two will work side-by-side on technology and content including online video services designed to be broadcast on a plethora of screens such as smart TVs and Xiaomi smartphones. Youku Todou, meanwhile, will allow Xiaomi to use its existing content and there are also plans to develop original content akin to Netflix originals.
The partnership should bear considerable fruit for Xiaomi due to the fact Youku Tudou has 500 million monthly users and there are 800 million views per day of videos on the service. Further to this the app boasts the second-highest average time spent per user in China.
Additional reports suggest that Xiaomi plans to invest $300 million [£189 million] of the fund in the Baidu-owned iQiyi, a rival of Youku Tudou’s, though neither side has yet confirmed if this is the case.
Xiaomi’s smart TV was revealed for the first time back in September 2013 and its a centrepiece of its strategy to create a series of hardware peripherals around its Android-skin MIUI.
Baidu and Alibaba already offer TV streaming services that benefit from the huge customer bases both have built up, though as Xiaomi has shown in the smartphone sector it is more than capable of challenging the very largest of companies.
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