Chinese internet value-added services provider Tencent, which earlier made a investment in Airwallex is leading a $ 115-million round of funding into music streaming service Gaana, continuing its pace of investments in India after backing domestic giants Flipkart and Ola, which earlier raisied $100 million from its shareholders for its expansion, last year. Tencent has majority of its shares in Tencent Music Entertainment and is also operating JOOX, a leading music streaming platform in Southeast Asia. The company also holds a stake in Sweden’s Spotify, the world’s leading music streaming service.
Using Funds to Develop Technology
With having more than 60 million monthly active users Gaana is competing with Saavn, Apple Music and Amazon Prime Music, among others. It will use the funds on technology developments, particularly focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) to personalize music experiences for consumers.
Gaana aims to cross 200 million active users in three years. The music streaming service provider has invested in products such as Gaana Social, which recommends songs based on what friends and family are listening.
Stepping up Investments in India
Tencent, which also owns WeChat, has been increasing its investments in India as it takes on rival Alibaba, which, too, has also been building a portfolio here.
“As more affordable mobile data plans are driving smartphone penetration in India, we believe growth in the music streaming market will accelerate,” said Martin Lau, president of Tencent Holdings. “By investing in and collaborating with Gaana, we look forward to bring more innovation and better experiences to all Indian music lovers.
Tencent Investment in Flipkart
Tencent has invested in Flipkart last year and has also purchased a stake in the country’s largest ride hailing app Ola. The company also owns stakes in messaging application Hike, healthcare startup Practo and education technology firm Byju’s. Overall, it has invested $1.3 billion in India.
“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,” said Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet.