Chinese tech giant Tencent is leading a $110.8m investment round into Indian streaming platform MX Player, along with Times Internet, which already holds a majority stake in the company.
The funding round reportedly values MX Player at $500m. Times Internet, which acquired a majority stake in MX Player in late 2017 for $140m, is part of leading Indian media group Bennett Coleman, which also owns the Times of India newspaper.
Tencent is already active in India with investments in music service Gaana, ride-hailing app Ola and social platforms Sharechat and Hike, among others.
Based in Singapore, MX Player originated in South Korea as a video playback app that can play files in multiple formats, but has evolved into being a primarily Indian service, as India is its biggest market with 175 million monthly active users. The ad-supported service streams films and TV series and also offers access to about 200 TV channels.
MX Player CEO Karan Bedi said the additional capital would be used to increase production of original content and expand the service’s slate of licensed shows. So far, the company has added around 15 originals shows to its platform and has commissioned production of a further 20 before the end of the year. Many of the shows are targeted at college students and young professionals, such as Thinkistan (pictured), Immature and Hey Prabhu.
“Within a relatively short period of time, MX Player has leveraged its vast user base and rich content library to be one of the leading video-streaming services in India. As the smartphone user base continues to expand in India, we look forward to working with MX Player to further grow its platform by delivering original content and a differentiated user experience,” said Jeffrey Li, managing partner at Tencent Investment, in a statement.
Bedi added: “We’re happy to welcome our new partners, whose investment is a glowing endorsement of our stellar growth and huge future potential. Our vision is to be one of the world’s largest entertainment platforms, serving our users across their online entertainment needs, starting with video streaming and beyond.”