“Content is king”, as they say, and even hardware manufacturers want in on it. Xiaomi, the Chinese smart hardware and internet service provider, announced this afternoon that it is allocating US$1 billion to digital content, especially online videos for the Xiaomi Smart TV and set-top box.

The company has hired Chen Tong, editor-in-chief of Sina since 1998, to take charge of its digital content business and serve as vice president. The Sina news portal is the leading online news site in China and has been for many years. Chen is also an early investor in Xiaomi.

When it comes to digital content, Xiaomi so far only owns a digital book publishing service, Duokan. Xiaomi Smart TV and set-top box stream online videos from authorized licensees, or indeed unauthorized online video services (tech-savvy users always finding work-arounds). Xunlei, in which Xiaomi has the biggest stake, also runs a video streaming service, and Xiaomi products have integrated its services.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com