Jun 7, 2013 · 2 minutes

YY founder David Li

Further to the chronicles of the "yes, the US can learn from China on tech" meme, as well as the "Hey, maybe these Chinese tech IPOs aren't so shitty after all" revelation, another Internet company from the Middle Kingdom is showing that it has ideas and execution that the West should envy.

Mass social communications platform YY – which is kind of like Google Hangout meets Facebook but on steroids – has announced a partnership with an "American Idol"-like TV show that will see it serve as a broadcasting and interactive platform throughout the duration of the popular program.

YY will be a partner broadcaster for Hunan TV's "Happy Boy Show," a live TV talent show, in a way that positions it as not just as add-on afterthought to the television experience but as a key medium for the show's narrative and distribution.

Beginning in late June, YY will broadcast the contestants' training and rehearsal sessions live across PC and mobile platforms, and will later establish a designated channel on YY Music for each finalist, telling their real-life stories and offering behind-the-scenes viewer interaction. Via YY, users will be able to support their favorite performers by sending virtual gifts and casting votes, both paid and free actions. It is, in other words, a radical evolution of the vote-via-Facebook system that "American Idol" has been using  since 2011. It's not just that YY is serving up a "second screen" experience – it is effectively transforming the idea of "mass broadcast" into one of "mass interaction."

YY's rich-media platform has the ability to host hundreds of millions of concurrent video and audio discussions across millions of "channels" at once. It has hit a peak of close to 9 million concurrent users, a remarkable achievement given China's notoriously weak online infrastructure, which is plagued by scant and under-powered data centers.

The nearest US equivalent to this TV partnership in the US is "American Idol" throwing up video extras on its website and maintaining an active Facebook page. In both cases, the Web executions are like afterthoughts to the main TV event. In this Chinese case, YY is an equal partner; the Internet component of the show is just as important as the TV part.

YY is shaping up to be something of a hero to China's tech industry. Its November IPO was a key moment in helping to revive hopes for Chinese tech companies hoping to list in the US. Its stock surged on opening day, climbing from $10.50 per share to $12.65. Since then, the stock has been on a rampage and now sits at about $28.

Just yesterday, ecommerce company LightInTheBox built on YY's early success, becoming the first Chinese company to go public in the US in 2013. Its stock has climbed from $9.50 to above $12 in its first day and a half.

As Mary Meeker has suggested, now is the time to take Chinese tech innovation very seriously.