Xiaomi makes a play for video content, leads $310 million investment in Xunlei

Xiaomi MiTV

Xiaomi launched its MiTV in 2013.

Xunlei, a Chinese video streaming site and media portal, revealed today that it has wrapped up US$310 million in funding. Xiaomi, the much-hyped upstart phone-maker that’s aiming at selling 60 million phones this year, ploughed in $200 million.

The rest of Xunlei’s biggest ever round came from software company Kingsoft (HKG:3888), which put in $90 million, while earlier investors Morningside Ventures and IDG chipped in the remaining $20 million.

This is Xiaomi’s biggest ever investment in another firm. Aside from Xiaomi’s phones, the company has an Android-based smart TV OS that ships in its Xiaomi MiTV (pictured above) and set-top box. While there’s no official word on this yet, Xiaomi’s stake in Xunlei could give its TV-oriented gadgets a shot in the arm. See this analysis from my colleague on why Xiaomi needs this kind of content boost.

Xunlei's smart TV app for video streaming

Xunlei’s TV app for video streaming runs on a non-smart TV via a set-top box.

(See: Xiaomi wants to sell 100 million phones in 2015, has a tall task to equal Lenovo)

Xunlei’s Hulu-like video-streaming site is called Kankan, which has mostly licensed TV shows and movies (pictured above: Xunlei Kankan smart TV app). But Xunlei is still best known – or ‘notorious’ might be a better word – for its P2P bittorrenting software, which is still running. All that pirated material on Xunlei was a major reason for the failure of its planned IPO in 2011.

Xunlei used to run China’s biggest pirate search engine, but that shut down at the start of last year as the firm gradually tidies up its act.

(Source: Tencent Tech – article in Chinese)

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