INQ & 3 Network Owner Buys Stake In Spotify

Li Ka-Shing, Asia's richest man and arguably the most powerful person in the Asian telecom market, has confirmed that it has invested in online streaming music service, Spotify.

According to Forbes business magazine, Li Ka-Shing, who is worth around $15 billion, is rumoured to have invested up to $50 million to take a minority stake in the service as Spotify seeks to expand worldwide and offer more premium services.

Previously, Li has invested $120 million in Facebook and had entered with Skype through one of his numerous ventures, TOM Online, to help the internet telephony company enter China.

Li Ka-shing also owns Hutchinson Whampoa which operates mobile phone network Three as well as INQ, the mobile manufacturer.

INQ has already released a number of highly focused phones; it has launched a pair of Twitter phones, a Facebook phone and a Skypephone that has proved so popular a third version is already on the way.

A direct consequence of the Li Ka-shing is that the CEO of INQ, Frank Meehan, has been appointed to sit on Spotify's board, so it looks as if a dedicated Spotify phone (or at least 3 Network with integrated Spotify features) is a certainty.

Apple has been overtly protective of its iTunes service and is likely to refuse the app that Spotify submitted a few weeks earlier for inclusion in the App store. And two weeks ago, NMA did report about talks being held between 3 Network and Spotify to get the latter's services on the former's smartphones.

Spotify will also be facing rival schemes like Nokia's Comes With Music. It is also interesting to note that Spotify has sold 17.3 percent of the company to the four major music labels as well as the Merlin independent label consortium.

Our Comments

What do we do on our phones. Listen to music (Spotify), update our social presence (Facebook and Twitter), make phone calls (that's Skype) and send a few texts or emails. Video will probably remain a niche for some time because of the strain it places on network infrastructures. So there you have it, 3 could well integrate those ingredients on one phone.

Related Links

INQ chairman to sit on Spotify board

(Pocket-Lint)

Li Ka-Shing confirms Spotify stake, will tie up with 3, INQ

(Guardian)

INQ Spotify phone prepped?

(Mirror)

Billionaire Li Ka-shing Buys Stake in Spotify Music Service

(DMWmedia)

Spotify, INQ and 3 team up – is the Spotify mobile on the way?

(Stuff)