Xiaomi makes first investment in India, teaming with Hungama

[BENGALURU] Xiaomi Corp is leading a US$25-million investment in India's Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, an online provider of music and videos, as it seeks to lure more customers in the world's fastest-growing smartphone market.

"India is a fast-growing, strategic geography for us and it's about time we established our services offerings here," said Hugo Barra, Xiaomi's vice president of global operations. Xiaomi will start integrating Hungama's content, including themes and ringtones, into its products.

Xiaomi, the world's fifth-largest smartphone maker, is in a race with Samsung Electronics Co, Apple Inc and other rivals to sell devices in India. While double-digit growth is no longer projected for the global phone market, the South Asian country is bucking the trend; sales there are seen expanding by 29 per cent in 2016, according to Gartner Inc. While India has an estimated 220 million smartphone users, the country has 1.2 billion people.

Hungama has a library of 8,000 movies in Indian languages and over 65 million monthly users across its music, video and movie platforms. The expansion of faster 4G mobile networks in India is expected to fuel demand for digital content.

Barra said Xiaomi's investment in Hungama is 'sizeable,' and existing investors including Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners and Indian billionaire Rakesh Jhunjhunwala participated in the funding round.

"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," Neeraj Roy, Hungama's founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.


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