Google is one of the largest companies in the world but it's currently shut out of the second largest market in the world: China.
The company tried to maintain a presence in this country with its search engine. However, the restrictive rules regarding internet usage made the tech giant leave. Now, it is looking for ways to get back into it and one of the ways to do so is through investments.
Google Invests In eSports Startup In China
The search engine is banned in China and to get back into the country, Google invested in Chushou, a Chinese live streaming eSports platform that specializes in mobile games. With Google's investment into the startup, its funding is increased to $120 million.
However, the multinational company didn't say how much of Chushou it now owns or is valued at the moment. Chushou features 8 million users and almost 250,000 live streams a day.
Apparently, China is a growing market for eSports. Google's investment is set to help the Chinese company grow in the international market.
eSports, as a spectator event, is growing, and Newzoo estimates that 191 million watch eSports frequently and another 194 million tune in occasionally. It also estimates that 42 percent of those who watch eSports do not play the games themselves.
Notably, Google already has a live streaming gaming service that it launched on YouTube.
Second Investment In China
It appears that trying to get back into China is a priority for Google. It is finding different ways to enter the market without going through the search engine route.
In 2015, Google bought a minority stake in artificial intelligence startup, Mobvoi, which is run by former Google engineers. It uses AI to make chatbots that placed into smartphones, cars, and other devices.
Moreover, Google also sees artificial intelligence as a way to get back into China. In December, it started an artificial intelligence lab in the country.
Before that, Google's AI project, AlphaGo, beat Chinese Go champion and world number 1 player Ke Jie in a Go match that was streamed live on YouTube in May. It was previously thought that it would take AI decades to achieve this victory.
This Go game made international headlines but wasn't covered very much by the local Chinese media. Some senior officials were also offended by the victory, and it drove China to want to become a leader in AI technology.
Jie went as far as calling AlphaGo "a god of Go." In 2016, AlphaGo defeated high-ranked South Korean Go master Lee Se-dol.
Go is a game that is thousands of years old and is considered extremely complex. Google says there are more moves in the game than there are atoms in the universe.