Last July, Alibaba revealed a smart TV OS that eventually became available on a set-top box and various smart TV models (pictured above). Alibaba’s streaming media partner for those gadgets is China’s Wasu Media (SHE:000156). Today, Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma cemented the partnership with a truckful of cash, contributing along with other investors to a RMB 6.54 billion ($1.05 billion) investment in Wasu to take a 20 percent stake.
Alibaba and Wasu also extended their previous partnership for online media such as licensed TV shows and media, reports Reuters.
The Wasu Media stake was made via Hangzhou Yunxi Investment Partnership Enterprise, which is jointly owned by Ma and two other tech luminaries – Alibaba co-founder Simon Xie and Giant Interactive’s Shi Yuzhu.
The Alibaba and Wasu deal comes amidst a flood of deals for online content as China’s web giants battle for a large part of what China’s internet users love to do whilst online.
Last year, Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) acquired streaming video site PPS for US$370 million, adding it to the one it already has – iQiyi. Baidu also has a smart TV OS and set-top box. Disruptive phone-maker Xiaomi is also in this space with its own smart TV gadgets; last week Xiaomi invested US$200 million in Xunlei to boost its own streaming media content.