Alibaba is determined to expand its horizons by making another push into the Internet TV market after the smart TV failure last year. This time the e-commerce giant has collaborated with Haier Electronic
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) announced that it is launching new Internettelevision sets in China, in partnership with Haier Electronics Group Co Ltd (OTCMKTS:HRELF). The sets will come equipped with entertainment and shopping features. The television sets will have inbuilt features allowing users to access Alibaba’s retail marketplaces, namely, Taobao and Tmall, plus games and movies.
The e-commerce giant has gone down this road before as well; however, its launch of smart TVs last year, in collaboration with local TV-maker Skyworth Digital Holdings Ltd (OTCMKTS:SWDHY), could not attract a lot of buyers. The renewed push into the domain aims to curb some of the factors that caused the previous attempt to fail, like entertainment offerings.
Alibaba Group has also moved into the content business recently. The Chinese company signed a deal with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. (USA) (NYSE:LGF) in July to obtain rights for the studio’s “Hunger Games” and other titles for its set-top boxes in China. Alibaba seems to advanced further into the entertainment content business, as company executives met Hollywood studio’s heads last month.
The content rights obtained will aid Alibaba’s new Internet TVs. Product description for these televisions included images of Lions Gate’s “Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2” and “Hummingbird”. Alibaba’s presence in the US over the past two months has paved way for more media content deals. Internet TVs are not new in China, in fact, their market is fairly crowded. According to The Wall Street Journal, Baidu Inc (ADR) (NASDAQ:BIDU) is a player in the market with its own operating system. Moreover, Xiaomi, the third-biggest smartphone maker in the world, also sells smart televisions.
The scope of shopping through Alibaba’s new internet TVs will be limited to a limited number of reputable sellers on Taobao and Tmall. Only merchants who provide a high standard of products and services will be allowed on the platform, which means that instead of millions of products on offer there will be around 200,000 items on offer. Furthermore, Haier’s website states that buyers of the Alibaba-Haier TV will get coupons that will serve as cash during online shopping. The pricier a model is, more valuable will be the coupons that come with it. For instance, the largest 55-inch model costing 5,998 yuan ($976) will bring fetch coupons worth 2,410 yuan. The new internet TVs are currently available in three sizes, 42-inch, 48-inch, and 55-inch. Two more sizes of 32-inch and 40-inch will be launched soon. The Alibaba-Haier Internet TVs are said to include games for multiple developers. Famous Japanese titles like Capcom’s “Street Fighter” and Konami’s “World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014” will also be available to customers.