Apple just announced its new product HomePod, a wireless speaker and smart home assistant. It relies heavily on the company’s music streaming service Apple Music which has failed to attract users in China. It may take a lot for Apple to drive the sales of HomePod next year, as most Chinese users are favoring local music streaming services.

China has quite a few music streaming apps that are free of charge, and some are even ad-free. For most apps, listeners can choose to purchase the “VIP” package which charges about RMB 10 (USD 1.50) or less a month, which would allow them to download music and enjoy better audio quality.

Here are the top five online music providers in China that you should know about.

Kugou Music

Screenshot from Kugou Music.
Screenshot from Kugou Music.

Founded in 2004, Kugou Music is the largest online music service in China, boasting over 450 million monthly active users. In a recent QuestMobile report, it has over 228 million monthly active users in March 2017.

Kugou’s COO Xie Huan told local press Jiemian in February 2016 that it attracted the most users in China’s small cities and towns. “China is a country of 1.4 billion people. All I can say is, most of our listeners are not the kind who drink coffee,” Xie told Jiemian.

Owned by China Music Corporation, Kugou in 2016 merged with Tencent’s QQ Music, China’s second largest music streaming service, along with another China Music Corporation music app Kuwo. All three platforms are operating independently, but are all formed under one industry behemoth.

QQ Music

Photo from qq.com.
Photo from qq.com.

Launched in 2004, QQ Music is a music streaming app owned by Tencent, and it claims to have 400 million monthly active users. However, according to QuestMobile’s report, QQ Music has over 211 million monthly active users in March 2017.

It is worth noting that QQ Music has licensing agreements with over 200 music companies. Tencent merged QQ Music with two other apps Kugou and Kuwo in 2016, which are both owned by China Music Corporation.

Kuwo Music

Screenshot from Kuwo Music.
Screenshot from Kuwo Music.

Founded in 2005, Kuwo was acquired by China Music Corporation in 2015, and was later merged with Kugou Music and Tencent’s QQ Music in 2016.

According to QuestMobile’s report, Kuwo is the third largest music streaming service in China and has over 100 million monthly active users.

NetEase Cloud Music

Screenshot from NetEase Cloud Music.
Screenshot from NetEase Cloud Music.

Launched in 2013 by Chinese Internet portal NetEase, NetEase Cloud Music announced in April 2017 that it landed RMB 750 million (USD 108 million) for its Series A financing round.

According to QuestMobile’s report, NetEase Cloud Music has over 60 million monthly active users in March this year.

Xiami Music

Screenshot from Xiami Music.
Screenshot from Xiami Music.

Xiami Music was founded in 2007 and acquired by Alibaba in 2013.

In QuestMobile’s report, it has about 14.4 million monthly active users in March 2017, making it the fifth largest online music platform in China.

(Top photo from Pixabay)

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Timmy Shen
Timmy is a writer at AllChinaTech. He's passionate about photography, education, food and all things tech. He holds a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Write to him: timmy[at]allchinatech.com

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