Taipei—Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. will invest $1 billion to acquire television content, the company said Tuesday, as it joins Chinese software giants in a race to control video programming in the country.
The company also announced it hired Chen Tong, former chief editor of web portal Sina, as vice president in charge of content investments.
“Xiaomi TV’s content must become even more rich and colorful, and become the weather vane leading the industry,” the company wrote on its television division’s official Weibo microblog.
The move comes shortly after Jack Ma , founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. , met with Hollywood executives to discuss possibilities of co-financing upcoming movies.
Chinese Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent have been scrambling for exclusive content as they vie for the eyeballs of China’s more than 600 million Internet users. These viewers increasingly watch videos on smartphones.
Xiaomi is the world’s fourth-largest smartphone maker and began making smart TVs last year.
China became the world’s second-biggest movie market in 2012, behind the U.S.