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Chinese mobile-phone manufacturer Xiaomi has said it will invest $300 million in the online site iQiyi, the latest sign of the privately owned company’s growing ambition in the TV and video market.
Meanwhile, iQiyi’s owner Baidu, China’s largest search engine, will also increase its stake in iQiyi, a Netflix-like site that recently unveiled plans to make seven local films and one Hollywood film next year, also by $300 million, according to a report in China Business News.
In a separate announcement, the leading online site, Youku Tudou, said it had entered into a strategic partnership with Xiaomi, aimed at accelerating the development of its multi-screen media and entertainment ecosystem.
The two companies will jointly develop content and technology, including developing multi-screen online video services.
Xiaomi will invest in Youku Tudou by acquiring the latter’s stock on the open market. It will also license content from Youku Tudou, and the two companies will jointly invest in the production and distribution of online video content and movies.
The news comes shortly after iQiyi said it would buy 1,000 Hollywood titles next year to feed growing demand in the Chinese market and just days after Xiaomi said it would invest $1 billion in TV and video content, and had hired Chen Tong, a leading Internet executive from the online firm Sina, to oversee the fund.
Chinese tech firms are currently on the offensive in the entertainment industry. The Internet giants Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are all setting up entertainment units, and buying and making content.
Xiaomi currently sells a Xiaomi TV, Mi TV and a set-top box, Mi Box, and hopes to replicate the success of its hardware business in the TV industry. It is the third-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after Samsung and Apple.
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