Xiaomi led a $25-million investment in Hungama Digital Media Entertainment to mark its first investment in an Indian company. Other participants in the round included existing investors Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. With the new investment, users can expect limited free streaming, themes, ringtones and other Hungama services integrated into Xiaomi s Mi ecosystem. Also Read - Xiaomi electric cars are coming in first half of 2024, confirms company: Check detailsAlso Read - Redmi Note 11, Note 11 Pro; price, key specs leak ahead of launch: Check out details
It may be recalled that Xiaomi had partnered with Hungama for its Redmi Note 3 smartphone as well. Under the partnership, Xiaomi is offering two months of free service from music streaming app Hungama with the Redmi Note 3 smartphone.
After a relatively quiet 2015, Xiaomi has stepped up its efforts to tap the Indian market. Though it has already made attempts to be a local player with greater participation in Make in India campaign. Xiaomi claims that its 70 percent of smartphones are locally manufactured. That said, besides launching the high specced budget smartphones, the company has also expanded its portfolio to offer audio devices, including the latest Mi Bluetooth speaker. While it is primarily focusing on the hardware, Xiaomi has also set its eyes on the content portfolio.
The investment in Hungama could be one of the first major steps by Xiaomi to improve and expand its content offerings. Though Xiaomi intends to focus on smartphones this year, it is likely to launch its Mi TVs in India sooner or later. Content is likely to be a major element for its Mi TVs and even for the smartphones.
Xiaomi s Hugo Barra last year had said that the company had set aside $1 billion to invest in Internet TV content in China and in foreign markets. Where we really want to make significant investments is in content, particularly in the Chinese market to start with but beyond that in other markets as well,” Hugo Barra was quoted as saying. He also revealed Xiaomi was keen on investing in the Indian start ups. “One area that we are also looking to make some investments in is startups in India. India is already the largest market for us outside of mainland China,” Barra added.
It is worth pointing out that Xiaomi has already made some investment in content portfolio in China. Last year Xiaomi had made a $300 million investment in video streaming platform iQiyi. It also bought stake in China s largest video streaming site, Youku Tudou.
Of late we have seen rival Micromax extensively investing in the content-based start ups such as HealthyfiME, Ixigo and music streaming service Gaana. Micromax-backed YU had launched the YU Yutopia featuring an Around YU service, a single platform for content from multiple apps and services. Also, it had Gaana streaming service as default music application.
Xiaomi could do something similar with its investment in Hungama and other future investments in the Indian companies. Also, the move could part of its efforts to diversify beyond smartphones, which are nearing a saturation point in terms of hardware innovation. Content could play a key role for the likes of Xiaomi to differentiate their products from others.