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Tencent

Tencent teams with Thai start-up Ookbee to launch content platform

Tencent’s further expansion in Thailand comes as more Chinese internet companies look towards Southeast Asia for new engines of growth

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 8:20pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 8:20pm

Chinese internet giant Tencent has teamed up with Thai start-up Ookbee to launch a digital content platform as the Shenzhen-based company buckles down on expanding its presence in Southeast Asia.

Both Tencent and Ookbee have entered a joint venture that will spawn the launch of Ookbee U, a user-generated digital content platform. Tencent’s investment amounts to US$19 million, according to tech news site Techcrunch, which cited an unnamed source.

The Ookbee U content ecosystem will comprise comics, music, blogs, and stories contributed by users, with an aim to generate over 1 million content items over three years.

“This joint venture reinforces our commitment to Thailand and supports our Thailand strategy to grow our digital content platforms,” Poshu Yeung, vice president of Tencent’s International Business Group said in a statement. “We are confident that our investment into Ookbee U will further strengthen our position to capture the promising potential in the dynamic local creative media market.”

Ookbee U is not Tencent’s first foray into the region. Thailand’s popular web portal Sanook Online, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tencent, in December 2016 rebranded itself as Tencent (Thailand).

Tencent (Thailand) also operates Joox, the country’s top music-streaming app which has over 20 million registered users in Thailand.

According to Ookbee chief executive Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, the new Ookbee U venture will be “very well positioned to capture the opportunities in both the Thai and Southeast Asian markets, given Tencent’s industry expertise and tremendous resources.”

Tencent’s further expansion in Thailand comes as more Chinese internet companies look towards Southeast Asia for new engines of growth.

Tencent rival Alibaba Group has also invested in the Southeast Asian market. Its financial affiliate Ant Financial in November formed a strategic partnership with Thai third-party payments service Ascend Money. Ant Financial declined to reveal its stake in Ascend.

In April, Alibaba acquired Singapore- based e-commerce platform Lazada for US$1 billion as it looked towards expanding its e-commerce foothold in the region.

Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.