Shanda sets sights on TV platform
The biggest Chinese online games operator Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd will launch its home entertainment strategy soon, as the company tries hard to expand its business to other platforms.
"Our preparation for the launch of the home entertainment strategy is almost done and both hardware and software are ready," said Chen Tianqiao, chairman and CEO of the NASDAQ-listed firm.
He said in an interview in Beijing on Tuesday that the only thing his company is waiting for is the right time.
Chen said the strategy will launch in the "very near future."
According to the Hong Kong-based securities brokerage DBS Vickers, Shanda took 39.3 per cent of China's US$373 million online games market in 2004, twice that of its nearest rival NetEase.com Inc.
But Chen said that even grabbing a majority share would not be that impressive.
While there are only about 20 million online games players in China, there are 340 million households with a television, so penetration into the TV platform has become the focus of Shanda's home entertainment strategy.
The company has decided to move some of its entertainment branches - including games, music and literature - from the computer platform to the TV platform through a set-top box.
The set-top box is expected to use Intel's processors, Microsoft's operating system and mother boards from the Taiwanese firm Gigabyte. The boxes may be produced by the Taiwanese electronics maker Inventec.
On Tuesday, Shanda was granted exclusive licences from the Institute of Automation under the Chinese Academy of Sciences to use the latter's technology that allows players to control games with the motion of their hands or head, or with their voice, and put the faces of players into a game.
Chen said these features will be integrated into some leisure games on the TV platform.