Changba, a mobile Karaoke app, turns out to be one of the startup stars in China this year. Officially launched in May, it has attracted about 10 million users and much media attention. To make a long story short, Changba is a mobile version of YY Music that offers a virtual stage for “singers” and “audiences”. But YY Music was late on mobile and simply released a Changba clone, Weichang, later.

YY Music makes revenues from virtual item sales – audiences buy virtual gifts for singers. Released in March 2011 – one year before Changba, YY Music made about 53 million yuan in revenue in 2011 and twice of that in the first half of 2012. Changba also offers virtual goods, flowers — so far for free but expected to be a revenue source. Besides, it enables online singing contests — any user can be an organizer.

Chen Hua, founder of Changba, once told media that his business could be as big as YY Music’s. He made an argument that competitions within the ecosystem and music charts could bring over monetization opportunities. At the moment Changba is receiving minor advertising revenues from sponsored singing contests. Its website also features a digital music campaign by China Unicom.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com