On Thursday, ONE App announced that it had received RMB 60 million (USD 9.1 million) from China Growth Capital as part of its Series A financing.
ONE App is a digital magazine launched three years ago by influential Chinese author, director, and race car driver Han Han, who was named one of the top 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine. Based on the idea that “one is enough”, the app provides users with one article, one photo collection, one Q&A and one product every day. Strongly driven by Han Han’s personal brand, the app currently has 30 million users and over one million daily readers.
The funding announcement coincided with the release of the app’s new version, ONE 3.0, which added features for music and film. Every day, it will release three original songs, along with a bio for artists. The film feature will have rating and review functions as well as a ticket-buying function from Gewara, a ticket platform that merged with Tencent’s Weiying Technology last December. The company also plans to hold offline events like concerts and music festivals.
This signals a shift in the company’s direction, one that coincides with China Growth Capital’s stated interest in “new modes of consumption”, as explained on its website. Previously, the app relied on ads for revenue, but it has now shifted to multiple sources of revenue, including allowing users to buy products through the app. Apart from the app, ONE also runs a Taobao shop and offline shops under its brand.
Last year, the company started to focus on intellectual property, signing with writers, and film and TV companies. It seems to be building an intellectual property chain, incubating promising writers and musicians and retaining their content to distribute through the app. It has also started adapting movies and TV shows from the literary content it already owns.
ONE’s expansion into the film and music realm makes sense, given that music apps are the fourth most used app category on mobile devices, and given that box office proceeds grew by 48.7% in 2015. Earlier this week, book and movie review platform Duyao also received millions of dollars in financing.