Chinese digital titans Alibaba and Tencent are both investing in smart TV start-up Whaley Technology, founded by Li Ruigang’s China Media Capital (CMC).
According to a report in Xinhua, Whaley did not reveal how much each partner had invested but said it had raised start-up capital of $312m (RMB2bn). On Thursday (Aug 13), Whaley unveiled a 55-inch, 4K smart TV priced at $600 (RMB3,799).
Founded by Li in April, Whaley Technology now has four partners – CMC, Alibaba, Tencent and China National Radio, which holds an internet TV licence.
Li said Whaley will focus on hardware and some content, while Alibaba and Tencent will both provide content. Although traditionally tech rivals, Alibaba and Tencent are also partnered in taxi hailing app Didi Kuaidi.
CMC is a media and entertainment investment fund which part-owns or is partnered with companies such as Oriental DreamWorks, STAR China, Time Warner, IMAX China and Hong Kong broadcaster TVB.
Smart TVs look set to be a growth market in China, although regulators appear to be unnerved by the potential to stream content directly from PCs, mostly the domain of the educated elite, to what could become the mass market family screen in the living room.
Tencent’s online video rival LeTV and smart phone manufacturer Xiaomi have also invested heavily in the smart TV business.