After disappearing from the App Store last September because of “sexual content”, ’17’, the live streaming app from Taiwan, announced on Thursday that not only is it available in mainland China again, but it will also found a company for the purposes of specifically targeting mainland China’s live streaming market.
17 will work with a Beijing-based game publisher, MOYOGAME Ltd., to set up the company with a RMB 150 million fund from investors including LeSports’ capital fund. The intention is to create an independent company with a specific team that knows how best to localize the app for China in order to compete with so many rivals in this market.
The company plans to build something akin to a live streaming version of Twitter. It will be a more social celebrity-centric live streaming app that is different than many of its live streaming competitors that rely mostly on amateur singers and actors to deliver shows. 17 has an advantage in that it has already accumulated many celebrity users from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
“They are using our app like using Weibo,” Song Xiaofei, head of 17 China, said. “And we plan to draw more celebrities to our platform.” In its initial stages Weibo, China’s Twitter, invited celebrities and KOLs to attract their fans to Weibo as users.
17, consisting of two numbers that are translated into pinyin as “Yi Qi”, which can also mean “together”, was founded by a famous hip-hop singer and actor from Taiwan, Jeffrey Huang. A function that makes this app distinctive is that streamers with a certain number of followers can get a portion of profit from the platform.
Launched last July in Taiwan, 17’s live streamers are mostly Taiwanese showbiz celebrities and young Taiwanese, owing to the founder’s established fame as a celebrity. The app proceeded to expand to include showbiz personalities from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
Within two months of its launch, the app soared to the top of the free app list in China’s App Store. Wang Sicong, son of China’s second richest man and known as “the people’s husband” among China’s netizens for his wealth, charm and legions of female fans, not only invested in the app, but also heavily promoted it last September. This helped create huge hype among his approximately 16 million Weibo followers back then. But its glory didn’t last long as it was quickly removed from the App Store because of sex-related content on the app.
With lessons learnt from this, 17 is now equipped with the supervision system SKYEYE, which was developed by a team in Taiwan, and automatically supervises the streaming content.
As of now, 17 has more than 10 million overseas users and around three million Chinese users.
AllChinaTech has compiled a list of popular Chinese streaming sites, and reported on live streaming platforms invested in by Tencent, developed by China’s third largest social network site Momo, and developed by leading smartphone maker Xiaomi.
Having invested in two live streaming sites, Tencent recently launched its own app and web-based live streaming site named “Qi’e TV”, which is now mainly focusing on sports live streaming.