MUMBAI, INDIA (CelebrityAccess) Chinese media giant Tencent has acquired a stake in the India-based Gaana music streaming platform for an estimated a $115 million investment.
This follow’s Tencent’s subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment becoming a 10% shareholder in Spotify at the end of 2017 as part of a stock swap between the two companies.
Tencent has grown to be China’s biggest tech company with a market capitalization in excess of $500 billion.
It has steadily upped its investment in India in recent times, backing such companies as chat app Hike, Amazon rival Flipkart, Uber competitor Ola, the medical platform Practo, and the education startup BYJU’s.
Gaana, founded in 2010 by Times Media / Times Internet has indicated that it will use the new capital to develop AI tools that will improve the service’s personalized interface for its 50 million monthly users, as well as enhancing its subscription tier.
The Times Of India Group is South Asia’s largest media conglomerate. A family-owned business, it owns interests in magazines and newspapers, radio and TV networks, online services, music publishing, a record label, and so on.
Times Internet is already an existing backer, and it is the other investor in the deal. Tencent’s involvement represents the first ‘outside’ investment money raised for Gaana.
Tencent Holdings President Martin Lau said: “As more affordable mobile data plans are driving smartphone penetration in India, we believe growth in the music streaming market will accelerate.
“By investing in and collaborating with Gaana, we look forward to bringing more innovation and better experiences to all Indian music lovers.”
Gaana doesn’t reveal its user metrics, but CEO Prashan Agarwal said the company is “only 10 percent of the way towards building a business useful for 500 million Indians.”
Gaana’s current competition in India includes Saavn, Airtel, Wynk, and Hungama, as well as Apple Music where the streaming services are among the cheapest rates globally.
Spotify has yet to launch in the territory, but it has reportedly opened an office in Mumbai, India last year according to documents submitted to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. Amazon Prime Music is expected to make a full rollout soon in the country. The service is available in a limited capacity to the Indian Echo users.
Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet, said: “We are happy to welcome Tencent as a partner in Gaana and benefit from their global learnings.Tencent operates the largest music streaming business in China, and we look forward to working closely with them to continue to innovate and drive the digital music market in India.”
Meanwhile Nick Nash, who as president, helped take the Tencent-backed Singapore tech group Sea public last year, is to step down, the company said after unveiling a more than doubling of net losses to $561.17 million in the year to end-December.
Sea raised more than $1 billion when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange last October. But it has failed to match its backer when it comes to profitability and shares have fallen by almost a fifth since then to $12.26.