Mon, Oct 14, 2013 - Page 14 News List

INTERVIEW: KKBOX battles for Taiwanese market

KKBOX chief operating officer Izero Lee spoke about the company’s plans in Taiwan in an interview with ‘Taipei Times’ staff reporter Helen Ku. Although Japan is set to take over as its biggest customer, Taiwan stays a vital market for the music provider, while it has ambitions to expand further in the region and to add to the entertainment services it provides

TT: How about your plan to launch an online ticket-booking platform next year?

Lee: KKBOX decided to jump into the market to enhance the online buying experience for people when they buy concert tickets because there is huge scope for existing ticket-booking platforms to improve their services.

Next year, KKTIX will be available for every mobile device user and it will have an intuitive user interface to let users get tickets in the shortest possible time. In addition to selling concert tickets, KKTIX will also be selling tickets for sport events, academic seminars and other entertainment shows.

TT: Does KKBOX plan to provide an online radio service?

Lee: So far, KKBOX has not seen demand for online radio services in Asian countries except Japan. I can say Asia has never been a target for Apple to sell its online radio services because Asian people are reluctant to pay to listen to the radio. Due to this cultural difference, KKBOX has not considered serving online radio services to take on Apple or Pandora.

TT: What about online movie-streaming services?

Lee: KKBOX has been considering audio or visual-related digital content-streaming services and we have even considered streaming manga online, but the hardest part is negotiating with distributors.

From our point of view, Netflix is very successful in the US and we believe the online movie-streaming market has huge growth potential. As soon as KKBOX can reach an agreement with distributors and let them know the maintenance expense is accounted for as one of KKBOX’s biggest operating costs, we may join the market.

TT: HTC is one of KKBOX’s shareholders. How do you view this struggling smartphone vendor?

Lee: I think HTC is a great company. As a global brand based in Taiwan, HTC once achieved glory, selling the world’s first Android-powered smartphone and making top-tier products in the intensifying smartphone market.

It is not easy for Taiwan-based tech companies to establish brands in the global market, but HTC made it. I think the company sets a remarkable example to other Taiwanese tech firms.

TT: Any plans for an initial public offering soon?

Lee: As KDDI Corp remains the largest shareholder to KKBOX, the Japanese telecoms operator is the one to make a final decision on whether KKBOX wants to be a listed company.

If KKBOX has plans to expand into new markets, which requires capital, we will ask KDDI for permission to raise funds from the market. Currently, the priorities for KKBOX are plans to stream manga online and make music TV programs in Taiwan.

We are also paying attention to the online movie-streaming market. We believe it will be great for Taiwanese movies to gain publicity through KKBOX because they, like Mandarin songs, show foreigners what Taiwanese culture is all about.

This interview has been condensed and edited.

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