Despite worsening ties between Indian and Chinese governments, business goes on as usual. A new report from TechCrunch claims that Tencent, one of the biggest tech companies in China, is in advanced stages of talks to lead a funding round in Gurgaon based audio streaming platform-Pocket FM.
The round, through which Pocket FM will seek to raise $20-$25 million, values the firm at a massive $75 million to $100 million. This signals a massive rise to success for the company, which was founded just three years ago.
Pocket FM allows users to stream podcasts or audiobooks in English and other Indian languages (Hindi, Bengali, Tamil), competing with the likes of not just Spotify but also Amazon’s Audible. It operates on a freemium model, where users can either use the app with ads, or subscribe to its premium offering for a high quality immersive story listening experience and an access to premium catalog of audiobooks and podcasts (and of course, no ads).
The company claims that it has a catalogue of over 10,000+ hours of Audiobooks and Podcasts.
Tencent is an existing investor in Pocket FM. However, over the past few months, investments from the tech giant in India have slowed down, thanks to mounting scrutiny of Chinese companies in the country. In fact, PUBG Mobile was banned from India due to its ties with Tencent, leading to billions in losses for the game. Krafton had to cut its ties with the Chinese backer to develop a new game-Battle Grounds Mobile India to make a comeback in India, even though that game has been under the watchful eye of the government as well.
Thus, in face of this pressure, Tencent’s move to invest in an Indian organization seems bold. The company is already a major investor in music streaming service Gaana and on-demand video streaming player MX Player.