An Xiaomi is finally opening up its investment purse in India, with the first of them coming in the streaming music domain. The Chinese upstart has led a $25 Million investment round into Hungama, with participation from Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Xiaomi’s investment in Hungama isn’t surprising though, considering that it had earlier announced plans to invest in Indian mobile apps and services startups.
While this is may be Xiaomi’s first Indian investment, the over $45 Billion valued company has already invested in close to 50 startups globally. This investment is pretty much in line with its global investment strategy, wherein the company is looking to introduce localized Internet services and content on its smartphones in India. Post integration, the platform will have free and paid content, which will be part of the monetisation strategy.
Hugo Barra, vice-president, Xiaomi, said,
We think of smartphones as a platform for us to deliver Internet services, and this includes content. As our user base in India grows and as 4G penetration in India continues picking up, we will start to see more and more consumption of digital media through Xiaomi devices. We have carefully selected Hungama because of what they are doing in terms of aggregating large amounts of content and delivering an amazing user experience.
Hungama, which entered the entertainment market in 2009, has partnerships with over 700 content creators, and offers over 8,000 movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Punjabi and six other Indian regional languages on its platform.
Prior to this funding round, the company had raised $140 million in two funding rounds – in 2014 and 2015, from Bessemer Venture Partners and Intel Capital. The company claims to have more than 65 million monthly active consumers. As per the company’s release, Hungama Play will add 1,500 hours of TV content in Indian languages and English.
Neeraj Roy, founder and chief executive, Hungama, said,
We are very excited to be partnering with Xiaomi, as we are extremely aligned in the way we see digital media becoming mainstream on mobile devices. With this investment, we intend to further strengthen our movie and TV services.
Xiaomi has been actively making efforts to increase its footprints in India and acquire a significant amount of market share in the world’s one of the fastest growing smartphone market.
After entering India in 2014, Xiaomi secured undisclosed amount of funding from Ratan Tata as strategic investment, in 2015, to boost its business in India. Later that year, Xiaomi also joined “Make In India” initiative and now, the company has also started investing in Indian startups.
A couple of weeks ago, Xiaomi’s president Bin Lin shed light on company’s plans to consolidate its presence in India – the fastest growing smartphone market, amidst a slowdown in China and other parts of the world. The plan involves two new factories in association with the manufacturer company Foxconn.