Tencent, a Chinese internet giant, will join Paytm, an Indian e-commerce payment company, in a plan to invest about $100 million in MX player.
MX Player is one of the many streaming services fighting for supremacy in a fast-growing but exceedingly fragmented Indian market. Currently the fastest-growing Indian streaming service, MX Player is one of the best content-streaming options in the country, with a number of foreign players crowding in.
This Indian OTT platform and global offline video player is owned by Times Internet, a unit of Indian media conglomerate Bennett Coleman & Co. The final stages of the deal between Tencent and Paytm are still underway, and the specific terms are still susceptible to changes.
Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been investing in movies, television shows, and other forms of entertainment to boost user engagement. The Chinese tech and social media giant is a world-renowned investment holding conglomerate founded in 1998. Its many subsidiaries specialize in online services and products, AI, and entertainment.
Tencent has been looking to expand its video-streaming efforts to Southeast Asia. Last month, it launched its first video streaming service in Thailand. With over 89 million subscribers, its video-streaming sites have seen a 43% year-on-year surge in subscriptions in Q1 2019.
Investing in MX Player, one of the most downloaded entertainment apps worldwide, provides Tencent with a much-needed foothold in the Indian market. In India, the burgeoning smartphone users are consuming a variety of media via cheap wireless data plans. MX Player relies on smaller towns for about two-thirds of its viewership and competes with the likes of Amazon Prime Video and market leader Hotstar, whose owner is none other than Walt Disney Co.
The projected streaming market growth in India should reach an annual rate of 22% ($1.7 billion) by 2023, PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates. Paytm, an Indian digital payment leader, reported 5.5 billion transactions in the 12 months ending with March 2019, with a gross value of more than $50 billion. MX Player’s 30 million registered users will expand Paytm’s online payment audience.
Bloomberg’s source asked not to be named because the details are private. Jane Yip, a spokeswoman for Tencent, and representatives for Paytm and MX Player declined to comment.