9158.com was one of the first online music show platforms in China that made money from virtual gifts. And it has made a fortune. But now the market is very crowded. And more, such as Tencent and Youku, are flocking in.

YY Music plans to extend to other areas, talk shows and online courses. But where 9158 plans to expand to isn’t the Web but the offline world. It will start building brick-and-mortar Karaoke bars soon (source in Chinese).

Before this move, the site had began shifting its focus. Previously 9158 totally counted on a number of performers to attract audiences and lure them into buying virtual gifts. As competition became fierce, platforms started fighting for performers by increasing revenue sharing. 9158 then decided to transform into an online Karaoke platform for average users — like Changba.

Chenhua, CEO of Changba, found that their users who interacted online would like to go to Karaoke bars together if they happened to be living in the same city. 9158 said so too, so it expects to convert online users to customers of their future Karaoke bars. As users of 9158 are in smaller cities or towns, the company plans to build Karaoke bars in those places lack entertainment facilities.

9158 bar will be different from the existing Karaoke bars in software. Users will be able to see their profiles on 9158.com on the TV screens of 9158 bars. So they also can share their singing or even videos to friends directly through the TV screen.

It is reported that 9158′ revenue from performers has decreased by 40% after the company shifted focus.  The company still runs online games and is trying out on online education. In early 2013, Fu Zhengjun, CEO of 9158, said that the company was preparing for an IPO in the U.S.. Fu was found in the U.S. looking for office space in May this year.

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

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