Viki Moves In On Chinese Audiences With Two New Video Deals

Video sharing site, Viki, is continuing its push into China with two new video distribution deals with Chinese video-on-demand sites, LeTV and Xunlei Kankan.

This move follows its first distribution deal, set up last July, with Renren—also known as the Facebook of China. That deal with Renren was Viki’s first such agreement with a third party to serve videos on an external site, and saw Renren setting up a dedicated channel called VikiZone on its site.

This new deal with LeTV and Xunlei Kankan will also have VikiZones created on the Chinese sites.

Viki’s video community is quite unique, in that it puts users together in real-time so that they can help to translate videos on the site. The open-source style of working means hundreds of translators can lay subtitles on a video quickly.

The company said in April this year that 30 percent of its views are now coming from mobile phones. It serves 1.5 billion videos to 22 million viewers a month, with over 320 million words translated.

The startup was a side project at Harvard and Stanford in 2007, and its founders started the headquarters in Singapore in 2008, following a funding injection from Singapore-based Neoteny Labs.

In its early days, the founders spent a lot of time setting up licensing deals in Korea, and started expanding that effort out to Bollywood movies and Japanese anime.

Last year, Viki partnered with Indonesian telco Axis to deliver its apps to Axis subscribers’ phones. Viki also syndicates its content with crowd-sourced subtitles to sites like Hulu and Netflix. It also has an ad deal with the BBC.

Viki raised a Series A round in 2010 of $4.3 million, and another round of $20 million in 2011. It has offices in Palo Alto and Seoul as well.

Google invested $5 million in Xunlei Kankan in 2007, netting it 2.8 percent of the company. Xunlei Kankan was going to list on NASDAQ in mid-2011, but didn’t go through with it in the end. LeTV is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange and recently started selling smart TVs.