Alibaba to Acquire Minority Stake in NetEase Cloud Music Streaming Service

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Chinese online retail giant Alibaba has moved to acquire a minority stake in the NetEase Cloud Music streaming service as part of a $2 billion purchase of NetEase’s e-commerce unit Kaola, the two companies announced late Thursday.

Alibaba, along with Yunfeng Financial, an investment group backed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, have entered into an agreement to invest approximately $700 million in NetEase Cloud Music as part of its latest funding round. The stake acquisition is pending completion of certain closing conditions, they said.

Founded in 2013, NetEase Cloud Music boasts over 800 million registered users, but there’s no confirmation how many are active on a monthly basis. The streaming service partnered with Alibaba's own service, Xiami, last year in an effort to share their content libraries.

William Ding, CEO of NetEase stressed that the company would remain the controlling shareholder of the streaming service and vowed to “continue to fully support the growth of this business, helping it to realize its strategic goals in the music industry."   

Added Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group: "Alibaba also looks forward to becoming a partner in the future development of NetEase Cloud Music and exploring innovative collaboration in the digital entertainment space."

China’s digital market is currently dominated by Tencent Music and its trio of music platforms, QQ Music, Kuwo and KuGou.

Kaola specializes in providing Chinese consumers with high-quality import products and services, the company said. “With Kaola, we will further elevate import service and experience for Chinese consumers through synergies across the Alibaba ecosystem,” Zhang said.