Singapore’s GIC strikes chord with online music deal

01 September 2014   Category: News, Asia, Global, Singapore, Taiwan   By Derek Au

The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) has invested US$104 million into Taiwan-based music streaming service provider KKBOX, on the back of what it describes as increasing demand for consumer technology in Asia.

KKBOX will use the investment proceeds from the city state’s sovereign wealth fund to finance overseas expansion and refine its technology and service, Chris Lin, co-founder and chief executive officer of KKBOX, said in a statement.

GIC said it has “confidence in the long-term growth potential of KKBOX given its unique music streaming service and strong franchise in its home markets”. The fund expects that “there will be exciting opportunities for the company as it embarks on its expansion”.

KKBOX was established in 2004 by a group of Taiwanese software programmers. It features over ten million legal music tracks and its service is available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, with more than 10 million users. Prior to the transaction with GIC, the company had received investment from Japanese telecom giant KDDI Group and smartphone provider HTC in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

GIC has ramped up its exposure to the technology and e-commerce industries in recent months. In addition to KKBOX, GIC also invested in India’s largest e-commerce firm, Flipkark, in July. In May, GIC led a group of investors including Tiger Global Management, Temasek Holdings, Iconiq Capital and Kaszek Ventures to invest approximately $170 million into Brazilian online sports goods retailer Netshoes.