Wed, Aug 29, 2012 - Page 13 News List

KKBOX strengthens its software research team

Staff writer, with CNA

KKBOX Inc, Taiwan’s biggest digital music provider, said on Tuesday it has expanded and strengthened its software research team to develop international cloud music systems.

The company said it has formally upgraded its software team into the KKBOX Research & Innovation Center, which will report directly to company president Alex Wang (王正) beginning this month, and added six new people to its 11-person staff, KKBOX said in an e-mailed statement.

The center will focus its research on global positioning strategies, new technology innovation and the optimization of the user experience, the firm said.

The initiative is expected to create a multinational business model for cloud music systems in Asia and promote Taiwan’s digital music globally, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, which received KKBOX’s application for subsidies based on its upgrade program.

Under a ministry initiative to encourage domestic companies to invest more in R&D, companies are eligible for subsidies when they establish new R&D plans or upgrade in-house research operations.

KKBOX, the first company in the Asia-Pacific region to enter into a partnership with Facebook Inc for music sharing, provides a seven-day free trial of its streaming music service for registered Taiwanese users of the networking Web site.

The deal, which took effect in April, allows KKBOX subscribers to link their Facebook accounts so that their friends can see what songs they are listening to.

Further, KKBOX plans to launch its streaming music services in Singapore and Malaysia by the end of this year, which is expected to boost the company’s total number of paid subscribers to more than 1 million by the end of the year.

Japanese mobile phone operator KDDI Corp holds a 67.5 percent stake in KKBOX, with Taiwan smartphone maker HTC Corp (宏達電) holding 11.1 percent and KKBOX’s management team retaining 21.4 percent.

KKBOX said it hopes to expand its cooperation with KDDI into the smart-TV market, with the Japanese operator expected to pre-install KKBOX services in its set-top televisions that are sold to high-definition-TV customers.

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