C-Media Electronics Inc, a leading Taiwanese computer audio product maker, has injected a further $6 million of investment into Ipeer Multimedia International Ltd, the parent company of online music stores Kuro and Ezpeer+.

The investment is seen as an acknowledgment of the positive outlook for online music market, particularly in China.

C-Media, established Ipeer last year in the Cayman Islands, is to buy 12 million Ipeer stock at US$0.5 per share, the company says in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. After that investment, C-Media would hold 18.96% in the company, with total investment of $9.14 million.

C-Media chairman Eric Cheng controls more than 30% of Ipeer's stock.

"The increasing investment demonstrates our confidence in our business model," a C-Media spokesperson tells Billboard.biz.

In July, Ipeer launched a new online music site Kuro.cn in Beijing. But instead of selling music, C-Media hopes to generate profits from the hardware. Next month, C-Media is due to start selling a digital player and an MP3 cellphone compatible with the Kuro music site.

The player, with 1G storage and 2.4-inch screen, is manufactured jointly by C-Media with Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co. and will sell for 199 Chinese yuan, says Lin. The cellphone price has not been unveiled.

Fifty songs will come pre-loaded with the player, and consumers can download songs from the Kuro site for free for the next 18 months, Lin explains. The period should be long enough to develop user habit to re-visit the site for "affordable" paid music, he adds.

The model will also be launched in Taiwan at the same time on Ezpeer+, Lin says.