Stay Home and Karaoke: Tencent’s JOOX Registers Increase in Use in Southeast Asia

HONG KONG, Apr 6 (Reuters) – Quarantines and travel restrictions unleashed by the new coronavirus have been a boon to JOOX, tech giant Tencent’s international music streaming platform, which saw an increase in its karaoke services from 50%, said an executive.

Launched in 2015, JOOX is an international version of China’s music streaming company Tencent Music Entertainment Group and represents the game and social media group’s biggest international challenge to bigger rivals like Spotify Technology SA.

JOOX, which operates in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and South Africa, is already vying for top spot on music streaming services with Alphabet Inc’s YouTube Music and Spotify in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

“It is exactly during this period of time that karaoke use jumped between 30 and 50%, depending on the country,” Poshu Yeung, vice president of International Business Group at Tencent, told Reuters in an interview.

“Many users are staying home listening to music,” he added.

The platform’s karaoke function allows users to sing along with their friends and receive online gifts purchased with virtual currencies in the application.

The model, which is also used by Tencent Music, has proven to be profitable: While most users use its music streaming unit, the company’s biggest revenue earners are social entertainment services, such as karaoke platforms.

Tencent Music reported revenue that exceeded expectations in the fourth quarter, in part thanks to those paid services.

(Report by Pei Li; Edited in Spanish by Lucila Sigal)