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S'pore social media start-up on acquisition spree
Publication Date : 20-02-2014
Singapore-based Mig33 is on an acquisition spree as it moves away from its start as a messaging platform for users of low-end phones.
The firm's new vision is to become an open platform where artists and celebrities can connect with fans through official accounts created on smartphones.
It plans to use funds raised from a public listing in Australia to pay for its acquisitions.
Mig33 announced its first acquisition on Wednesday. It has bought Hong Kong-based artist-cum-fan site alivenotdead.com (AnD) for an undisclosed price. AnD will give Mig33 users access to about 1,800 artists. The two will integrate by the end of this year.
Mig33 founder and chief executive Steven Goh told The Straits Times yesterday that the firm would be acquiring other media and artist-fan relationship sites, as well as gaming, payment and e-commerce companies.
"This would create a lot of synergies for Mig33," he said.
Users use Mig33 as a microblogging platform, and to chat and play games with one another. Said Goh: "These users can now interact with Hong Kong celebrities on AnD through chat or play games. We're also looking at organising events for our users with these celebrities. As we add other media and fan sites, our users will get more opportunities to engage their favourite singers, artists or movie stars."
He added: "As we acquire payment and e-commerce companies, we would be able to offer more activities for our users, like buying songs and movies."
Mig33 began as a microblogging site for feature-phone users and currently has about three million users, far fewer than the 70 million it had as a feature-phone messaging platform. Last month, it announced that it would list on the Australian Securities Exchange through a reverse takeover of Latin Gold, a mining company.
"The shareholders have agreed to the sale and it's just due process now. We expect to list in May," said Goh.
Funds raised from the listing will be used for the acquisitions as well as for Mig33 to expand in Europe and South America.
"We want to become the instant messaging service - like Tencent QQ and microblogging site Sina Weibo - of emerging markets in Southeast Asia, India, Nepal, Africa and the Middle East," Goh said.
With AnD and Latin Gold added to Mig33, the company is worth about US$40 million.
Mig33 creates revenue by monetising its online communities, mini-blogs and chatrooms with virtual gifts and games.
It employs about 90 people, with one-third of them in Singapore, another third in Kuala Lumpur and the rest in countries such as China and Australia.