OOKBEE, a digital content platform in Thailand, has received funding from giant Chinese Internet firm Tencent to launch a joint-venture start-up.
Ookbee did not disclose the amount it received but a source said it was a US$19-million (Bt680 million) initial investment.
Natavudh Pungcharoenpong, chief executive officer of Ookbee Company, said the new firm Ookbee U would develop ecosystems so users could create and share content in four key categories – comics, songs and music, ideas and experiences, and literature and novels.
Because people not only consume content from online channels but also want to share content that matches their personal lifestyles, being a co-creator of content ecosystems is the goal of Ookbee U.
Ookbee U is expected to have more than a million user-generated content units within three years.
“We are truly delighted to partner with Tencent, since we both share the same vision – that we believe content is the key to success, while the content platform covers all consumption behaviours such as listening, reading, watching and sharing,” Natavudh said.
Poshu Yeung, vice president of the international business group at Tencent, said the Chinese firm was confident that its investment in Ookbee U would strengthen its position to capture the promising potential of Thailand’s dynamic creative-media market.
“With Tencent [Thailand]’s existing properties in Sanook.com, the country’s No 1 Web portal for the past 18 years, and JOOX, the country’s No 1 mobile music streaming application, this joint venture reinforces the company’s commitment to Thailand and supports our Thailand strategy to grow our |digital content platforms,” Yeung said.
Grace Yun Xia, senior director of strategy and investment at Tencent, who will join the board of directors of Ookbee U, said Tencent was excited about Thailand’s vibrant digital-media market and the development of the start-up ecosystem.
“We have spend a year getting to know Ookbee and we believe there is a great culture fit and shared vision between Tencent and Ookbee. We are confident that Ookbee U will be well positioned to capture the promising market opportunities. This JV reinforces our commitment to Thailand and we look forward to working closely with local talents to continually build up our presence going forward,” Xia said.
Ookbee was founded in 2011. In 2012, it raised $2 million in funding from Intouch and in 2014 it received $7 million of a Series B investment from Transcosmos Inc.
Currently, Ookbee has around 300 people in countries including Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. It has 8.5 million users, of whom 4.5 million are active monthly.