RealNetworks Inc is looking to tap the rich seam of innovation in China, as the US digital media software and service provider looks to further consolidate its presence in one of its fastest growing markets, a top executive said.
"China is an important market for our continued growth," said Rob Glaser, founder and CEO of Real-Networks. "Innovative, collaborative and partner-oriented" are the top three words that the company associates with China, he said.
"Unlike other economies, China has its own unique market in terms of innovation, energy and value that has been created," he said, adding that Tencent and Alibaba are among the world's most valuable companies and are almost on par with big names like Facebook, Google, Apple, Micro-soft, and Amazon.
Glaser said that the quest for cutting-edge technologies is spawning innovation in every nook and corner of China.
"On the one hand, we are facing fierce competition in China," he said. "But on the other hand, companies and people here have huge appreciation of advanced technologies, providing us with an ideal environment to do the business."
RealNetworks, better known for creating media player RealPlayer and video format RMVB, enjoys huge popularity in China.
With an eye on long-term returns, RealNetworks recently launched RMHD, its next generation video technology, which can provide higher image quality.
"China first and the rest of the world next," Glaser said explaining the company's overall strategy. "The primary market for our new products is in China and then we will take it as a starting point to expand our businesses to other parts of the world."
Its RMHD technology has already been commercialized in CIBN Mobile TV, which marks a crucial step in the further application of its technology in the country. CIBN is one of China's seven networks that are licensed to distribute media over the internet, similar to services like Netflix.
Industry experts said that the scramble for superior quality video services has been necessitated due to higher demand for image quality from consumers and their willingness to pay for such services.
China has a huge streaming media market with online video market revenues exceeding 85.6 billion yuan ($13 billion) last year, up 34.7 percent year-on-year. The same is expected to exceed 112.9 billion yuan this year.
Driven by such huge demand, the Seattle-based company has moved its core research and development team and the vast majority of its technology team to Beijing.
"It is unconventional for a US company to start like this but that's the path we are set on," said Glaser. "It ensures that our understanding of the Chinese market is really deep and our commitment is long-term."
According to Glaser, the company is in active talks with potential partners in China to bring more artificial intelligence-enabled products, including computer vision products, to China to create more growth engines.
"I am confident about RealNetworks' future in China and we hope that our products can become successful both technologically and commercially," he said.