- Smule, maker of a bunch of music and karaoke apps, has secured US$54 million in a round of funding led by Tencent, the Chinese tech titan that runs WeChat.
- The San Francisco-based startup is seeing its suite of apps – such as Sing! Karaoke – become particularly popular across Southeast Asia. Only a third of Smule’s users are in North America, reports Reuters today.
- Tencent joined existing investors Adams Street Partners and Bessemer Ventures in the fundraising, which values Smule at US$604 million ahead of a mooted IPO as early as the end of next year.
Why it matters:
- Tencent is increasingly turning to Southeast Asia for new opportunities across the fast-growing region. Thailand is a primary focus, as seen with the firm’s joint venture in the nation at the start of the year.
- While WeChat has failed to catch on in Southeast Asia despite Tencent’s earlier attempts to take on the might of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Tencent is seeing success with its Joox music streaming app, which has been topping the app charts in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Watch: China’s smart karaoke booths are controlled by a messaging app
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