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Tencent increases its stake in Indian streaming firm Gaana

By | Published on Thursday 3 September 2020


Chinese web giant Tencent has increased its stake in Indian streaming service Gaana after pumping more money into the business. The music platform’s majority shareholder, Indian media conglom Times Group, has also provided new funding, although not as much. As a result, although Times Group is still the biggest shareholder, its stake has gone down and Tencent’s up.

Tencent first bought into Gaana in 2018, further expanding its interests in the music business. Through its Tencent Music Entertainment company and other subsidiaries, the wider Tencent group has its fingers in lots of musical pies, of course.

It is the market leader in music streaming in China itself via its QQ Music, Kugou, Kuwo and WeSing services, plus it operates another streaming platform called Joox in a number of other mainly Asian markets. And then there are Tencent’s shareholdings in Universal Music, Warner Music and Spotify, and its partnerships in China with various other music firms.

As a China-owned company, Tencent – like TikTok owner Bytedance – is currently having to navigate some political challenges, particularly in India and the US, amid allegations that the Chinese government has access to the audiences and user-data of apps operated by Chinese businesses.

Tencent’s WeChat messaging app in particular has been targeted by both the Indian and US governments. However, to date all that political shenanigans isn’t really affecting the non-Chinese companies that have Tencent as a shareholder.

Confirming the latest round of financing, a Gaana spokesperson told reporters: “We recently raised [3.75 billion rupee] debt from existing shareholders, Times Internet and Tencent. Gaana is India’s leading music streaming service with over [185 million] monthly active users, and is incubated and majority-owned by Times Internet”.