Mobile Karaoke App Changba has had 100 million registered users and 30 million monthly active accounts, Chen Hua, founder and CEO of it, disclosed at the company’s annual event today. It’s been no more than one and a half years since its launch.
As I called it the startup star of 2012 in China, the mobile Karaoke gained traction immediately after being released in May last year. The second climax occurred after the app was featured by one of the most popular TV shows in China. That helped Changba expand to second-tier cities, according to Mr. Chen.
Not only was it the first mobile Karaoke app in China, Changba also uses gamification to engage users — such as local charts and competitions between singers.
On the day the app turned one year old, it added video recording feature thus became a direct competitor of YY Music on mobile. YY Music received $27.8 million through virtual item sales on its PC-based singing performance platform in Q2 2013, with 0.6 million paying users and each spending an average of RMB269 ($44) in the quarter. The mobile version of YY Music isn’t so popular as Changba, but the latest version, launched at the same time as Changba’s video-enabled version, supports live streaming and would start selling virtual items on mobile in the second half of this year. Changba is working on live streaming too.
Changba started monetization through virtual gift sales and advertising from early 2013. Later in September the membership program, a monthly subscription, was released that charges 15 yuan ($2.5) per month. Like what most Chinese online services offer for a membership program, Changba subscription includes more free virtual gifts, discounts on paid virtual gifts, virtual awards, premium services, etc. It supports Alipay and China Mobile pre-paid card for payments. Changba also introduced mobile games in order to make some extra money.
Changba has covered major mobile platforms, iOS, Android and WinPhone 8. It will expand to users’ living rooms with a version for TV, the founder said today.
Its founder, Chen Hua, is a serial entrepreneur that previously founded startups including Kuxun.com, one of the earliest online travel search engines in China that was acquired by Tripadvisor of Expedia. Mr. Chen once said that was a 100-million-dollar loss — Qunar, also a travel search, filed for IPO recently planning to raise up to $125 million.