Baidu, the Chinese web titan behind the country’s search engine that works similarly to Google, will enter the television with its own smart TV as the company forays into the expanding online video industry.
Dubbed TV+, the company’s first smart TV will be produced by TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Ltd, with a 48-inch screen costing 4,567 yuan ($746). Sales launched with the company’s announcement. A more competitively priced model will launch in November at a price of 2,999 yuan. The TVs will offer over 200,000 selected high-definition videos, movies and drama series for free.
“With the cooperation with iQIYI and Baidu, we have become the first Chinese TV maker to have incorporated the Internet business model into the conventional TV business,” said Hao Yi, Chief Executive Officer of TCL Multimedia, in a press release. “The launch of TV+ has not just reinforced our leading product strengths, but has strengthened the application of information technologies in our operations. This has established a firm footing in consolidating the Group’s presence in the league of world-class TV brands and has significantly accelerated its incorporation of information technologies in the conventional TV business.”
The smart TVs will offer content from Baidu’s IQiyi.com, which it acquired last year. The sale, which was combined with Baidu’s June acquisition of PPStream Inc, the Internet video company, gave Baidu the largest online video platform in China.
With this latest release, Baidu will compete against Alibaba, the Chinese ecommerce engine that released a set-top box TV last July. The device uses Alibaba’s ecommerce and online payment systems such as Tmall, Taobao and Alipay, which allow users to shop and pay bills from a television. Alibaba’s TV also features an app store for video game purchases and music streaming services. Both Baidu and Alibaba will also compete against Samsung’s and Apple’s smart TVs.
IResearch, the consultancy company, has estimated that the Chinese online video market will be worth 16.2 billion yuan next year, Bloomberg noted.