Mergers & Acquisitions
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Social media

Meltwater buys Hong Kong start-up Klarity to harness data from Chinese social media

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 8:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 June, 2017, 11:00pm

International media intelligence company Meltwater has acquired Hong Kong-based analytics start-up Klarity in a move that is expected to deepen the firm’s ability to harness data from major Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Sina Weibo.

The deal, the value of which was not disclosed, marks the 11th acquisition made by Meltwater since 2009 and its second this year after closing a US$60 million debt funding round in February.

“In terms of the cost of the company and the investment that has been made, Klarity is one of our larger acquisitions,” Ewan Ross, Meltwater’s greater China area director, said on Monday. “It’s also the first time we’ve invested in an Asia-focused business.”

Meltwater has been in the Hong Kong market for over 11 years, and we have been looking for opportunities to enhance our offering in Asia over the last 24 months
Jorn Lyseggen, chief executive, Meltwater

Launched in 2013 and supported by US$1 million of financing in 2015 from venture capital fund 500 Startups, Klarity provides marketers and researchers with social monitoring and listening analytics to benchmark performance, identify market trends and gain in-depth insights into social behaviour.

“We see social intelligence redefining business strategies and success,” said former Klarity chief executive Christopher Wong, who has joined Meltwater as a product director.

The Hong Kong company taps into multiple social and online sources, including Tencent Holdings’ popular messaging platform WeChat, Chinese internet search giant Baidu, Tokyo-based messaging service Line, and Alibaba Group Holding-backed online video platform Youku Tudou and microblogging service Sina Weibo.

“Meltwater has been in the Hong Kong market for over 11 years, and we have been looking for opportunities to enhance our offering in Asia over the last 24 months,” founder and chief executive Jorn Lyseggen said in a statement. “We believe Klarity is the strongest social media analytics company in Asia.”

Founded in Norway in 2001, privately held Meltwater moved its headquarters to San Francisco, California, in 2006. That same year, it established a beachhead in Asia with an office in Hong Kong.

It now has 60 offices around the world, including in Beijing and Shanghai. Major customers include Hong Kong restaurant chain operator Maxim’s Caterers and food company Lee Kum Kee International, as well as China Mobile, Tencent, China Union Pay and e-commerce giant Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post.