Google has headed the latest funding round of Chinese e-sports startup Chushou TV. Google does not currently operate its core businesses in China and the deal is only Google’s second investment deal in the country.
Founded in 2015, Chushou operates a platform where gamers can live stream their mobile phone game activities. It claims to have 90 million viewers, 8 million streamers and some 250,000 live streams per day.
In a joint statement, the two companies said that Google is joining existing investors in a Series D funding round, in which Chushou raised some $120 million. The value of Google’s investment was not disclosed, though Chinese media have reported it as $77 million (RMB500 million.)
“Chushou has built an impressive platform, with a dedicated and quickly growing base of content creators and consumers, and smart expansion plans. We’re excited to be supporting Chushou through this investment to help them execute those plans, bringing great mobile gaming content to more people around the world,” said Frank Lin, Google’s head of corporate development in North Asia, according to the statement.
Google pulled its search business out of China in 2010 after it decided not to comply with mainland Chinese requirements on censorship, and relocated its Chinese-language business to Hong Kong, which operates under different jurisdiction. Access within mainland China to most of Google’s products – notably search, maps and YouTube — are blocked by China’s technological defense system, colloquially known as The Great Firewall of China.
Being unable to operate the world’s most populous country is problematic for the otherwise global technology giant, and Google has recently appeared to step up contact.
In 2015 it invested in Chinese artificial intelligence startup Mobvoi. In December last year, Google opened an AI research lab in China. The same month Google CEO Sunder Pichai attended the World Internet Forum in Wuzhen.