Youku Tudou, one of the leading online video services in China, reportedly is working on an Internet TV strategy. A R&D team and a large amount of money have been in place for developing a set-top box and Internet TV. (via Sohu IT)

iQiyi, the online video service of Baidu’s, has reportedly reached partnership with TV set manufacturers to release hardware products in a couple of months. Unwilling to get involved in hardware manufacturing, it only offers tech support so long as certain TV sets will stream videos from iQiyi.

Most Chinese online video services saw more and more traffic from mobile devices like tablets. At the beginning of 2013 Youku Tudou saw 20% of traffic from mobile devices and the case for iQiyi was 33%. Big players like the two started selling mobile adverts from earlier this year. It is believed bigger screens in consumers’ living rooms will be equally important– if not more important. LeTV claimed it had sold 10 thousand pieces of its branded Smart TV last month.

To make inroads to consumers’ living room, video content providers or other players in China started producing hardware like set-top box, Smart TV or other gadgets, hoping their video content or software will be brought to audiences as the default in the devices they use.

LeTV is the one that has gone the farthest. Starting as a content provider like Youku Tudou and iQiyi, LeTV has launched a couple of set-top boxes and a Smart TV.

Reaching out to a hardware manufacturer to produce electronic devices isn’t very difficult in China. Of course you should be well-aware regulatory issues; for instance, you need to partner with a state-authorized licensee in order to run a set-top box business, or you’d probably be faced with troubles like what Xiaomi Box encountered. Latecomers like PPTV learned a lesson from the Xiaomi Box accident.

Alibaba announced a customized operating system for Smart TV and a set-top box this month. The selling point of Alibaba Internet TV is its e-commerce marketplaces are supposed to be integrated into the operating system that a whole family can do Taobao shopping together on a big TV screen.

Qvod, a video streaming service who was cautious about set-top box considering the regulatory factors, took another way that rolled out a USB-shaped gadget to stream online videos onto TV screens. Actually you can find a plenty of gadgets like that on Taobao. Google also rolled out one, Chromecast.

Apart from video content providers and big Internet companies, other players, such as TV manufacturers and telecom operators, are also eyeing the Internet TV market. TV manufacturers have to work with content providers or license holders to feed Smart TVs they make — like the way iQiyi works with TV makers. China Telecom, one of the three telcos in China has successfully grabbed a considerable market share by having households who are its broadband customers buy set-top boxes produced by its partners and subscribe to video content offered by third parties.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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