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We update you on the most essential news from Asia in tech, media, and business—the things you need to know that you probably haven’t heard in Western media.
This last weekend, Disney launched their own streaming service specifically for the Indonesian market called Disney Plus Hotstar. The ‘Hotstar’ refers to the Indian streaming company that Disney acquired in order to roll out across Asian markets. This new service will feature tons of local Indonesian content and also includes a partnership with Indonesian telco Telkomsel.
Indonesia is the biggest market in Southeast Asia and has always been an attractive country for Western multinationals looking to expand across Asia. The timing of this launch should be positive—as overall streaming consumption has increased because of the coronavirus. Two local rivals, Hooq and iFlix, have recently shut down, which allows more room for Disney. Indonesia’s population is still price sensitive to paying for premium content, so the initial pricing strategy is really important. In partnership with Telkomsel, Indonesian consumers can purchase data and content bundles from Disney at different levels and over a set of options around subscription length.
The investment firm SoftBank has just injected $150 Million into Indian online education platform Unacademy, with the startup now valued at $1.45 Billion. Unacademy is a five year old company whose valuation has now tripled over the last six months. As a fund with the ability to write some of the biggest checks in the world, SoftBank’s latest investment is an encouraging sign for the hot Indian EdTech Scene.
Online education is booming around the world because of the coronavirus, and India is one of the largest countries to witness this. Unacademy works by connecting teachers with students through a subscription service that includes live video lectures and exams. The company has 30 Million users and 350,000 paying subscribers, which is a 4x increase since February of this year. Overall funding raised by Indian ed tech startups in 2020 has increased seven times since the same time period one year ago. In an age of many winners and losers because of Covid, online education continues to be one of the biggest winners.
Chinese mobile video app Kuaishou is one of several competitors in the Chinese digital media market. In an attempt to both differentiate and grow, Kuaishou recently announced ambitious new plans for expansion. They plan to incubate 100,000 businesses and help them achieve $146,000 in annual sales this year. They also have a goal to build 100 industrial bases, train 100,000 new livestreamers, and host 1,000,000 e-commerce livestream sessions over the coming year.
What’s the motivation behind these plans? Growth, timing, and opportunity. Across the board, all Chinese companies engaged in e-commerce have seen booms in usage because of the coronavirus, and livestreaming has become the most popular e-commerce subcategory. One of Kuaishou’s biggest rivals, the Bytedance-owned Douyin, has similar plans to expand their livestreaming capability. Many Chinese companies realise the power of livestreaming and they need to move quickly to get an advantage against their competitors.