Xiaomi leads $25million funding in Hungama; bets big on VoD in India

Chinese tech major Xiaomi today said it has led a USD 25 million (about 165.35 crore) funding round in Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, marking its first investment in an Indian company.

Xiaomi leads $25million funding in Hungama; bets big on VoD in India

New Delhi: Chinese tech major Xiaomi today said it has led a USD 25 million (about 165.35 crore) funding round in Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, marking its first investment in an Indian company.

The investment will help Xiaomi strengthen its local content and services portfolio in India.

"Our Video on Demand (VoD) service in China has 100 million installs and 30 million daily active users. 4G has played a major role in this. India is now on the verge of witnessing a similar data explosion and we wanted to ensure that we have a big play in this segment," Xiaomi Vice President Hugo Barra said.

He added that through its investment in Hungama, it will be able to integrate the latter's content into its own line of smartphones.

He, however, declined to comment on the timeline for launching its VoD service in India.

Hungama has partnerships with over 700 content creators, and has over 8,000 movies in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Punjabi and six other Indian regional languages on its platform.

Over 65 million monthly active consumers access Hungama across platforms for its music, video and movie services.

"This will also help us grow together and deepen our understanding of the content sector in India. While we are still working on the exact roadmap, we will start integrating Hungama's content services into our platforms, which will also include themes and ringtones," he said.

The funding round also saw participation from existing investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.

"With this investment, we intend to further strengthen our movie and TV services and in fact, Hungama Play will shortly add 1,500 hours of TV content in Indian languages and English," said Neeraj Roy, founder and CEO of Hungama.

Xiaomi had entered India in July 2014. It started local assembly of smartphones last year and currently, over 75 per cent of its smartphones sold in India are made in India.

Xiaomi had said the company is keen on investing in startups in India and is scouting for opportunities in Bangalore and Delhi-NCR.

The focus is on mobile and apps that can be incorporated to enhance the product experience, Barra had said adding that Xiaomi invests anything from USD 100,000 to millions of dollars on funding innovative firms.

Xiaomi had made a USD 300 million investment in online video provider iQiyi, besides buying stake in China's largest video streaming site Youku Tudou.