WeSing, Tencent Music Entertainment Group’s free karaoke application, is pursuing expansion in Southeast Asian markets as growth in its home market of China slows.

The app’s popularity in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian markets is a bright spot in an overall lacklustre second quarter earnings report for the company, spun off by Chinese internet giant Tencent in December last year.

Although the company’s paid music users have grown steadily, its more profitable social entertainment business – livestreaming on KuGou and Kuwo and online karaoke on WeSing – has slowed.

The number of monthly active users (MAUs) for its online music apps, which include QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music, hit 652 million in the second quarter, up 1.2% year-on-year; MAUs for its social entertainment apps, including online karaoke platform WeSing, reached 239 million, up 4.8% year-on-year.

Within China, WeSing’s revenue is spilt into two parts: B2B revenue from in-app advertising and music library copyrights; and B2C revenue from fan-economy income (sales of virtual props for good singers and sales of digital albums) – and, in future, targeting sales of branded hardware (microphones) and paid memberships.

In an earnings call, Tony Yip, chief strategy officer of Tencent Music, said that the company has begun to explore overseas opportunities by expanding WeSing across Southeast Asia.

It is already proving popular in some countries: Zhou Wenjiang, vice general manager of WeSing, revealed at the China-Philippines Forum held on July 29 that WeSing was the most downloaded app of its kind on Google Play in the Philippines and was ranked within the top 3 in the past three months in Malaysia, according to online news portal Huanqiu.com.

In the Philippines, Marketing Interactive reported that WeSing has also teamed up with MYX, the music channel of media and entertainment group ABS-CBN, to cater to the interests of local music fans; key activities include a daily song list provided by MYX, celebrity-hosted karaoke programs, and duets with artists.

The company also reported that “hundreds of KOLs from the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia” have joined the WeSing network and uploaded thousands of karaoke videos to the platform.

“Given Filipinos spend over 4 hours a day on social media, including an average of 126 minutes on streaming music, WeSing’s core feature to enhance social acquaintance and music social elements hits the soft spot of Filipinos, addressing their daily habits effectively,” said Mario Ji, general manager of WeSing.

Statistics from the Global Music Report 2018 show that the revenue of streaming media in the Philippines increased by 24.3% in 2017 amid a booming music market in Southeast Asia. Younger users are looking for a more personalised experience and diverse products.

Sourced from Bloomberg, Quartz, Marketing Interactive, Huanqiu; additional content by WARC staff