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A Chinese tech giant tried to buy Spotify

The streaming music company apparently values its independence.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 16, 2017
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Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Spotify is known for being fiercely independent, but that go-it-alone attitude might have been put to the test in the past several months. A TechCrunch source understands that Spotify rejected a buyout bid from Tencent, the Chinese internet giant behind WeChat, earlier in 2017. Reportedly, Tencent saw Spotify as an opportunity to expand its streaming music influence beyond China, where it thrives through services like QQ Music and KuGou. The insider doesn't say whether or not talks got to the point where a price came up.

Neither Spotify nor Tencent is commenting on the apparent leak, to no one's surprise, so there won't be any official clarification as to what took place. If talks happened in first place, though, they're still notable. They show that larger Chinese tech firms can feel confined by their home market -- Tencent's 600 million music customers may easily dwarf Spotify's 140 million, but that still leaves a lot of potential listeners up for grabs.

Also, it's significant that Spotify might have given up an opportunity for not only some useful financial support (it lost about $568 million in 2016), but a chance to expand into countries it doesn't yet serve. There's no guarantee that a Tencent deal would have guaranteed Spotify access to China (Tencent might have just used its existing services), but it might have opened doors to markets that weren't even on the radar. While we won't know Spotify's reasons for turning down the offer without an official explanation, it's possible that the company decided that its freedom was worth more than a potential market share grab.

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