The streaming subscription music service Pandora (NYSE:P) is reportedly head-hunting a capable China-area CEO ahead of a Pandora service launch in China.
Breaking the news, the Sina Tech portal emphasised that there’s no time-frame in place yet – just this major sign of a move being made towards China’s hundreds of millions of netizens. It’s a positive nod towards the maturation of the digital music industry in China, which was mired in almost total piracy just a few years ago.
Pandora apparently has its China CEO short-list down to just a few key candidates, and an announcement will be made in due course. There has been no official word from Pandora about its China plans or ambitions.
To operate in China, Pandora will of course need the requisite operating licenses, before it even goes about signing licensing deals. One option is for the US firm to work with a Chinese partner. Also critically important, if Pandora decides to make this a paid-for service, is choosing a popular and easy payment method – a failure which has severely limited Apple’s iTunes music store in China.
Who would be Pandora China’s biggest local competitors here? For starters there’s Baidu Ting, which recently secured its future with a major music licensing agreement.
Another challenger, which is smaller in name but surprisingly large in clout, is Douban. Its DoubanFM is an integral part of the whole interests-oriented community, which is now China’s fifth largest social media site. Plus, the service has some long-established smartphone apps (pictured above), and is free.
[Source: Sina Tech news - article in Chinese]