Tencent buys Malaysian streaming platform iflix in Southeast Asia push
25 Jun 2020
Tencent said today it had purchased Malaysian video streaming platform iflix’s “content, technology, and resources” in a bid to grow its presence in Southeast Asia. The Chinese tech giant said in a statement that iflix’s catalogue of “international, local and original content” would enable it to expand the reach of its overseas video streaming service, WeTV, which it launched in Thailand in 2019.
A Tencent spokeswoman declined to disclose the size of the deal. US entertainment media outlet Variety, which first published the news yesterday, cited people with knowledge of the agreement as saying the deal was worth “several tens of millions of dollars”.
That would make the deal significantly smaller than the US$1 billion (RM4.28 billion) valuation that iflix sought in 2019 when it planned a public listing in Australia.
The Malaysian start-up, which had raised over US$300 million, said it had more than 25 million active users in Southeast Asia. But it was facing significant accumulated losses and financial difficulties, according to two sources familiar with the company.
iflix was not immediately available for comment.
The purchase came as part of Tencent’s efforts to capitalise on its fast-growing user base in the region of 650 million, where it operates music streaming service JOOX and popular game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.
Tencent Video, its streaming platform in China, boasted over 110 million paid subscribers at the end of March.
WeTV will face a crowded field in Southeast Asia, which includes US giant Netflix and Chinese rival iQIYI.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Tencent was in early talks to become the biggest shareholder of iQIYI. Both companies had declined to comment.