Chinese mobile game streaming platform Chushou announced today that it has closed a $120 million Series D round of funding led by Alphabet's Google.
In a joint statement, the two companies said that Google is joining existing investors Qiming Venture, Shunwei Capital, and Alpha X Capital, in the funding round. Though the value of Google’s investment was not disclosed, Chinese media have reported it as $77 million.
Announced almost exactly one year ago, Chushou’s last round of funding was $58 million and prior to that, it had raised about $20 million.
The game streaming startup operates an online e-sports platform where gamers can live stream their mobile phone game activities. The two-year-old startup claims to have 90 million viewers, 8 million streamers and some 250,000 live streams per day.
A popular form of e-sports in China, live stream gaming platforms are part of a growing industry that involves competitive gameplay viewed by spectators.
In the same year, Chushou was founded, Google's YouTube launched a specialized service for live stream gamers capturing a large chunk of the global market.
Google will help the startup expand its services to target more overseas viewers.
“We’re excited to be supporting Chushou’s impressive platform with its dedicated and quickly growing base of content creators and consumers. We’re happy to help them execute their smart expansion plans and bring 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.
With the move, Google has added to its list of investments in Asia. The investment is Google's second-ever in a Chinese start-up, as the search engine giant continues to explore new avenues into the coveted Chinese market where they have encountered difficulties to access the large population of young, tech-savvy internet users.
Most of Google’s products most notably its flagship search engine, Google 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 the U.S. firm has stepped up their plans to change that.
Google began targeting China as a potential market to expand its AI offerings when took a minority stake in Beijing-based artificial intelligence (AI) start-up Mobvoi in 2015.
Just last month, the firm opened an artificial intelligence lab in China. Also, CEO Sunder Pichai spoke at a high-profile event in Wuzhen, China organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversees internet censorship in the country.