Big moves are afoot in China’s music-streaming world, with reports that tech giant Alibaba is acquiring a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music, as part of a wider $2bn investment in the latter’s parent company NetEase.
MBW suggests that the deal may value NetEase Cloud Music as high as $9bn – less than half that of rival Tencent Music, but still an impressive step up from the $3.5bn that it was valued at in 2018 when it raised a funding round of $600m.
Alibaba has its own music subsidiary (Ali Music Group) and streaming service (Xiami), but the two companies signed a partnership last year to share some of their previously-exclusive catalogues.
There are different reports on what’s happening now: news site EqualOcean, for example, has a more specific number for Alibaba’s investment in NetEase Cloud Music: $700m, separating this from a $2bn acquisition of NetEase’s ecommerce platform Kaola.
NetEase Cloud Music claims 800 million registered users, although the company doesn’t publish figures for how many are active. A recent report on Chinese news site cnBeta suggested that it may have 110 million active users, but that’s a single source, so is worth being cautious about.
In mid-August, Tencent Music’s latest financial results revealed that its three music-streaming services in China had 652 million active users at the end of June, including 31 million paying users.