Chinese internet giant Tencent has led an investment round of $115-million or Rs 740-crore in the Mumbai based music streaming company Ganna (which means ‘song’ in English). Ganna is owned by Times Internet, which is a part of the Indian media conglomerate Times Group. The group is the owner of the leading English newspaper Times of India.
Parent company Times Internet also participated in the round, an official statement issued by the company said. This is the first time that Ganna has received funds from a foreign investor and the company could not have asked for a better investor than Tencent, which is one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
Tencent’s timing to lead maiden investment in Ganna is also aptly timed since mobile as well as internet penetration is growing rapidly across India. Another factor that may have propelled Tencent is that Indian customers have now started shelling out money for music subscription. This was not the case few years back.
Ganna said that it will use the Tencent funds to invest in artificial intelligence (AI) to improve its user experience and enhance its subscription services further. Apart from Tencent, the company also has another lead investor in the form of smartphone maker Micromax, which picked up stake in the music streaming platform in 2015.
Competition growing in music streaming space
Until now, Ganna faced major competition from music streaming platform Saavn, which is funded by several high profile investors including Tiger Global. However, this is set to change as global players like Google, Apple and Amazon are about to jump into the music streaming fray. These global tech giants are gearing up to launch their own music services in a bid to capture the big pie of India’s steadily growing music streaming market.
What is making companies including global companies buoyant about the Indian music streaming market is the fact that Indians are fanatic about music. However, the Indian music scenario (as is the case with movies) is largely dominated by Bollywood.
Meanwhile, Tencent’s investment in Ganna marks Chinese tech giant’s growing interest in the Indian startup ecosystem. Tencent along with another Chinese tech giant Alibaba have so far invested in several high profile Indian startups, including Flipkart, Ola, Paytm, BigBasket and Zomato.