What is a company to do after rapidly becoming the world’s third largest smartphone maker? If you’re Xiaomi, expand your market reach to intangibles, apparently. In a blog post today on Chinese social media site Weibo, the manufacturer announced its plan to invest $1 billion in Internet TV content.
The post avoided specifics, but imparted Xiaomi’s desire “to repeat [its] success […] in the television industry.” As part of the strategy, the company has hired Chen Tong, a former executive at Chinese internet firm Sina Corp. Tong will work with Chuan Wang, Xiaomi’s director for Internet TV related products, to make the division more “diverse and exciting,” the blog post said.
The move comes at a period of incredible profitability for Xiaomi, which essentially dominates the low- and mid-range smartphone and tablet market in China. The company pocketed $2.16 billion in revenue over the first half of 2014, and is projecting next-year handset sales of well over 100 million.
The success of its smartphones has come at the expense of the Xiaomi’s television unit, which has languished. The company sells a set-top box and software solution, Xiamoi TV, but neither have performed spectacularly. Today’s announcement signals an intention to nab a larger slice of the Internet TV market, which consultancy group iResearch estimates is worth nearly $3 billion.