Under the agreement, TiVo products and services would be distributed in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and other major cities through PacificNet's subsidiary iMobile, which currently has about 200 employees in China. iMobile operates its e-commerce business via two Internet portals, and a third built for Web browsing on a mobile phone.
PacificNet is incorporated in the United States and trades on the Nasdaq, but operates from China. The company provides outsourcing and services that include call centers, telemarketing, customer relationship management and e-commerce. Its clients include China Telecom, China Mobile, Bank of China, and the Hong Kong government.
The latest deal is with TiVo Greater China, a close partner of TiVo in California. TGC has the exclusive right to provide TiVo products and services in China and the Singapore region. PacificNet plans sell TiVo through online sales and what it calls "user trial activities." "With the growing demand for innovative consumer electronics in China, we feel that the potential to generate strong revenue from this relationship is significant," Liu Lei, iMobile's general manager, said in a statement.
TiVo continues to lead the U.S. market for digital video recorders, but its position has been eroding as cable operators sell competing set-top boxes. Competition also is coming from the PC industry with the help of Microsoft, which provides software for making the computer the entertainment hub for the home. Apple also has entered the market with the Apple TV.
To combat increasing competition, TiVo has been tying its DVR to the Internet, partnering, for example, with Amazon to offer subscribers access to movie downloads from the online retailer's Unbox service. TiVo also has made it possible for subscribers to share personal videos online.