China innovators

Papa Pro pocket projector to offer portable cinema for US$250 after Chinese start-up raises US$7m

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 July, 2015, 3:51pm
UPDATED : Friday, 03 July, 2015, 4:28pm

Portable video projectors have yet to gain a foothold in China, but local start-up PaPa hopes to change that by launching its PaPa Pro for under US$250 after it raised 45 million yuan (US$7.25 million) in Series A funding this week.

The device can fit in the palm of the hand and is capable of projecting the lastest Hollywood blockbuster in full HD on a 120-inch screen - which would have to be purchased separately - a strong selling point that PaPa believes could see sales take off on the Chinese mainland.

The investors were not named, but the company said it intends to use the funds for product development and recruitment. 

PaPa, which was founded last November, generated 5 million yuan in its first round of funding, attracting heavyweight investors like China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and the country’s largest internet services portal Tencent.

The start-up is offering a battery-powered “pocket movie theatre” that weighs 200 grams and measures 10cm squared. It has a true resolution of 854x480 pixels but will be able to project a full 1080p film on a single battery charge. 

The device will not have external inputs, but will have Bluetooth and Wi-fi functions. 

The start-up has also struck up a partnership with Youku-Tudou, China’s largest online video company, and will offer over 1 million films, 100,000 television shows, 5000 variety shows as well as support for gaming. 

PaPa is not the first company to form a partnership with the Chinese content provider.

Last year, Youku-Tudou joined hands with China’s top smartphone maker Xiaomi, often dubbed “China’s Apple”, to develop its smart TV and set-top box projects, the MiTV and Mi Box, respectively.

Baidu, China’s No. 1 search engine, also has its own line of smart TVs called TV+. These stream content from Chinese online video platforms iQiyi and PPS, Youku-Tudou’s main rival. 

PaPa seems eager to stress the adaptability of the device for camping trips while also playing up the safety element: it claims its projector can protect children’s eyesight rather than accelerate their need to wear glasses.

This is not the only device of its kind in the market. ASUS’s LED pocket projector, Philips’ PicoPix and Brookstone’s pocket projector all offer a similar size, weight and resolution output. 

On its website, PaPa claims it offers the “most sophisticated” palm-sized option.

China could prove a lucrative market if it follows in the footsteps of other Northeast Asian countries. 

Over 300,000 pocket projectors are sold each year in Korea, according to Tech In Asia

The PaPa Pro is currently awaiting release but is available for pre-order at a retail price of 1,499 yuan.