Just a few hours after Alibaba boss Jack Ma detailed the restructuring of the e-commerce giant into 25 more nimble divisions, a rumor emerges that the company has acquired the Last.fm-like social music site Xiami.com. [UPDATED: This was confirmed as true by Alibaba on January 11th].
Chinese tech blog 36Kr claims to have verified the acquisition with a reliable source. We reached out to Alibaba, but a spokesperson said the firm cannot “comment on speculation” as a matter of course. In terms of other evidence, a WHOIS search for Xiami reveals that the site is registered to an Alibaba Hong Kong HQ address (pictured below), and it’s the same address that appears for other Alibaba-run sites like Taobao.com, the company’s original online marketplace.
While a music streaming site might seem like an odd fit for an e-commerce player, it could make sense with respect to Alibaba’s recent push to be more social. That’s seen in its own smartphone OS, its revamped group messaging app for iPhone and Android, its communities-oriented social network, its Pinterest-esque social pinboard that focuses on shopping, and also Alibaba’s purported participation in the huge series B funding round for the flirty chat app Momo. That’s all very social.
I’m a fan and regular use of the Xiami site, which also runs the Xiami Loop social DJ web app. Xiami was launched five years ago, and has over five million registered users, making it perhaps China’s biggest indie music-only social site.
[Source: 36Kr – article in Chinese]