Baidu partners with Huashu / Waisu to reach TV viewers and launch desktop PC app

6 July 2011 22 h 26 min 7 comments

According to several sources, China’s top search engine Baidu Inc had reached an agreement with one Chinese digital internet / television company to bring its search box to millions of television screens. This new partner is the Hangzhou based Wasu (Huashu Group).

Baidu reached an agreement with Huashu Media Internet company to jointly develop digital products and business models for Chinese television users. Baidu will also provide its current services of search, video, music and communication to more than 100 cities, potentially reaching tens of millions of television users.

“Search is not limited to a PC or a mobile terminal. We hope that everyone, through any terminal, anytime, anywhere, can easily find the accurate information they need through Baidu’s ‘box’,” Baidu‘s assistant to the chief executive Zhang Dongchen said in a statement to Reuters.

According to Sarft.Net and Marbridge Consulting, Baidu and Wasu Digital TV have formed a strategic partnership to initiate an Internet search service on television sets by offering Baidu services on Wasu’s cable DTV and internet TV platform. Users will be able to use Baidu services such as online search, entertainment, and social networking using their TV and remote control. Under the agreement, Baidu products such as online search, online music, Baidu Knows, Baidu Image Search, and Baidu Maps will be pre-installed on Wasu cable DTV set-top boxes operated by WASU’s network in more than 100 cities and on Wasu’s internet TV broadcast and control platform. Baidu content will then be transmitted through Wasu’s cable DTV and IPTV platforms to home viewers. “Internet services have a huge potential for development in the TV sector with our collaboration in technology and product,” said Vice President Li Xuedong of WASU to investors.com.

In April 2011, Wasu already partnered with Sony on internet TV to provide content for Sony (China) internet TV products. Sony joined Samsung, LG, and Sharp as foreign-owned TV manufacturers that have signed deals with internet TV content licence holders.

In Late 2010, Huashu already joined with Korean LG to develop Smart TV. South Korea LG  announced on 23 December 2010 the cooperation relationship with Huashu Digital TV Media Group, becoming the first foreign-funded TV brand reaching strategic cooperation with a leading new media content technology provider in China. The 2 partners announced that their first intelligent 3D TV would be marketed in 2011, and will support all functions of Huashu Digital.

In June 2010, Wasu and Alibaba Group’s Taobao established a joint venture named “Wasu Taobao” to provide interactive TV shopping on Taobao stores through Wasu’s digital cable network.

About Huashu Digital TV Co., Ltd Wasu Media

Wasu Media & Network Co Ltd (Huashu Media Internet Company below) is a subsidiary of Wasu Digital TV Media Group

Huashu Digital TV is a leading cable TV provider, headquartered in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, actively promoting cable TV digitalization. It focuses on the country’s development through digitalization and has provided two-way digital services, value-added services and digital information services within the country. It contributes as a pioneer in developing the digital TV industry in China by increasing the number of highly value-added service subscribers. Wasu is one of the few chinese companies with a national IPTV licence which was attributed by SARFT in january 2011. Wasu’s IPTV services currently reach 12 million users in over 120 cities in 23 provinces in China. It is also China’s largest operator and digital content provider for cable TV, 3G mobile TV and broadband TV.

This new partnerships is part of Baidu’s strategy to expand its business beyond desktops to all terminals like TV, smartphones and tablets. But PC remains its focus.

A new desktop PC Application for Qiyi

Baidu, which is major shareholder of one of the major online video platform Qiyi.com, is trying to diversify outside its core business of search and wants to reach the new market of Smart TV. In order to compete against Youku, Tudou and Xunlei, Qiyi just announced the launch of a desktop PC Application.

The new service offered by the video-on-demand website Qiyi.com is intatilly launched for Windows PCs. It looks like the one from US service, Hulu. Its design is similar to the main website but it allows users to stream videos in their browser. The main categories of video content in the app are: movies, TV series, cartoons, documentaries, arts and literature, music, entertainment, and travel. The football section, which is so prominent on the website, is missing from the app. Qiyi has also launched apps for iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Android tablets and Symbian 3.

The battle between Youku and Qiyi is about technology and content. Youku.com completed its content line up when it announced last week a deal with Warner Bros for 400+ titles.

SOURCES: Baidu, Sarft.Net, marbridgeconsulting.com, investors.com, penn-olson.com, sbs.com.au, Reuters (6/07/2011)

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