Xiaomi today announced that it has led a $25 million investment into video and music streaming company Hungama Digital Media Entertainment. This is the first investment by the Chinese smartphone maker in India and is aimed to start offering localised content to its Indian users.
The new investment is touted to mark Xiaomi’s “strategy to introduce localised internet services” on its smartphones in the country. Moreover, the Beijing-based company is set to leverage the development by integrating Hungama’s content into its platforms sometime “in the near future”. These would include themes and ringtones in addition to the core Hungama offerings such as video and music tracks.
“As our user base in India grows and as 4G penetration in India continues picking up, we will start to see more and more consumption of digital media through Xiaomi devices,” says Hugo Barra, VP of Xiaomi, in a statement.
“We are investing in Hungama not only to start integrating content into our smartphones but also to grow together with them and deepen our understanding of the content sector in India. We have carefully selected Hungama because of what they are doing in terms of aggregating large amounts of content and delivering an amazing user experience,” he adds.
Hungama is competing against services like Gaana and Saavn with its freemium model that is claimed to have more than 8,000 movies in a variety of Indian languages. Also, it has partnerships with over 700 content creators that will help Xiaomi deliver localised content through its mobile devices.
“Xiaomi has a very engaged community of fans, which we believe will benefit from the fabulous and immense repertoire from Hungama’s content services,” says Neeraj Roy, founder and CEO of Hungama.
The new move is certainly quite big for Xiaomi as it already started facing tough competition from its homegrown rivals in the Indian market.
A competitive step to rival LeEco
Xiaomi isn’t the only Chinese company that has plans to offer localised content in India. LeEco, which debuted in the country in January, recently partnered with ErosNow and YuppTV to provide Indian content on its Chinese offerings.
Other investors are also set to do some Hungama
Apart from Xiaomi, the new Hungama round was participated by its existing investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.
Gurgaon-based Hungama is targeting to use the new investment to “further strengthen” its movie and TV services. The digital entertainment company is additionally in plans to expand its Hungama Play product by adding 1,500 hours of TV content in Indian regional languages and English.