Ximalaya

After the boom of video streaming services, China’s audio streaming business is now seeing substantial growth for the coming years, according to Chen Xiaoyu, co-founder of Chinese podcast sharing service Ximalaya, who spoke at this year’s Techcrunch Shanghai.

In the mobile era, audio streaming is an easier means to get information and entertainment especially when users’ eyes are engaged elsewhere, said Chen, adding that this makes it a perfect fit for in-car applications. This year’s Techcrunch Shanghai focussed on the internet of things, and how connectivity will feature in our homes and vehicles in the future.

Chen and his co-founder Yu Jianjun, who is also the Ximalaya CEO, also both noted that copyright would continue to be a feature of early-stage audio streaming startups in China.

“Most early-stage startups do not have enough funding to address copyright issues,” said Jianjun, “but after reaching a certain development stage, ordered regulation is absolutely necessary and an inevitable choice for further development of the whole industry.”

Audio streaming services have also caught the eyes of hardware manufacturers, who see audio content as a means to bring extra value to their products. Chen noted that they have been approached by bulb manufacturers and even fridge makers to integrate their contents. At the same time, audio streaming companies are trying to find hardware to pre-installing their service or launch devices that are compatible with certain car brands.

Launched in March 2013, Ximalaya is an audio sharing platform which allows media companies, musicians and hobbyists to upload files for streaming or downloading. It claims to have more than 150 million users and over 55,000 content creators on its platform as of April. 2015. The company has secured a US$11.5 million A round in May 2014 and a US$50 million B round January this year. The competitors Ximalaya face in China include Kaola FM, Lychee FM and Qingting FM.

Image Source: Techcrunch Shanghai 2015