TiVo Going Into Taiwan

Reuters is out with an article on TiVo expanding into Taiwan with TGC Inc. Also known as TGC (TiVo Greater China).

“TGC Inc., a closely held Chinese company, will sell TiVo boxes and distribute the electronic guide and video recording service in Taiwan. Currently over 80% of households in Taiwan subscribe to cable television.

TiVo is a minority shareholder in TGC, which also has the right to sell TiVo service in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao.”

Back in TiVo’s 10Q in July of 2004 we were first made aware of this relationship between TiVo and TGC: “On August 9, 2004, the Company acquired a minority interest in TGC, Inc. (“TGC”), a newly formed independent entity. In exchange for the Company’s interest in TGC, it granted TGC a license to certain aspects of its technology for use in The People’s Republic of China, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Through TGC, the Company’s management expects to gain access to high quality, low-cost engineering resources for the design and development of reduced-cost digital video recorder platforms.”

To see details on the actual deal with TGC you can visit the Intellectual Property and Technology Agreement By and Between TGC, Inc., TiVo Intl II, Inc. and TiVo Inc.

Although TiVo is the largest shareholder in TGC, there are other minority investors including Venture Capital firm Mobius Venture Capital. Mobius has also been involved with funding other high profile technology businesses including both Slingbox and Technorati.

Mobius in their investment portfolio describes TGC as: “”TGC (TiVo Greater China) is a leading provider of Digital Video Recorder (DVR) products and services. With the technology, service expertise and operation know-how gained from TGC’s largest shareholder, TiVo, the company that pioneered the DVR industry, TGC works jointly with many worldwide technology partners to design and manufacture new DVR platforms, cost reduce existing hardware designs, integrate DVR functionality into other consumer electronics devices, develop DVR system & application software and enhance & provide DVR service operations.”

TGC is the exclusive TiVo partner to market TiVo brand products and services for China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore.

Earlier this year, TiVo also announced that they would be expanding into Japan in 2006. Of course the hostility of the broadcasters towards PVRs in Japan is perhaps even higher than here in the U.S. The President of Japan’s National Association of Commercial Broadcasters Hisashi Hieda was recently quoted as saying, “skipping the commercials would amount to a violation of the copyright law.”

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