Google has put RMB 500 million into the Chinese game streaming platform Chushou TV (触手TV), local media is reporting. This marks the first major investment Google has made in live broadcasting for video games since it lost the acquisition opportunity of the immensely popular Twitch to Amazon three years ago.
Insiders see the move as another step in Google’s comeback to a market it left seven years ago when its search engine refused to self-censor at the Chinese government’s behest. Less than a month ago, Google made headlines for launching its Beijing-based AI China Center powered by several hundred China-based engineers. The search giant has also been ramping up promotion of its machine-learning platform TensorFlow in China.
Live streaming has been one of the hottest markets in China since 2016. A flurry of platforms was born across industries such as sports, education, finance, and the more lucrative entertainment and video games. A report (in Chinese) by research company Analysys shows that by 2018, China will have an estimated 300 million users of video game streaming. Streaming of mobile game sessions is in high demand as the mobile-first country saw several blockbuster titles like Tencent’s Honor of Kings in recent months.
Other major players in China’s video game broadcasting sector include Tencent-backed Douyu TV which claims it controls over 70% of the market with nearly 200 million monthly active users.
First launched in July 2015, Chushou TV (meaning “tentacle” in Chinese) specializes in live streaming for mobile games. So far it has attracted over 100,000 streaming hosts and over 10 million audiences, according to a report by local media. In January, the company completed its series C round of RMB 400 million from GGV Capital, Shunwei Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and Feidian Capital.