Media company SHG Media announced on Monday that it has raised $3.2 million in Series A funding led by Digital Media Ventures, and aims to bring the mobile-first, mobile-exclusive media company it has been working on since 2013 to market in Asia.
“It is a bold and exciting opportunity for our company to join the growing trend of startups in Asia,” says SHG president Hiroshi Kato.
“The opportunity is to expand our product portfolio and further our ambitions to serve the Chinese market.”
Shg Media will be focusing on the Asian market in the coming months, according to Kato, and is aiming to launch its service in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Japan and Taiwan by the end of 2018.
The company has already launched the app for Android, iOS and Windows in China, and plans to launch the service in other countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.
According to Kataoka, the goal is to grow the number of its subscribers to around 2 million over the next three years, and hopes to reach 500 million subscribers by 2020.
Shg also plans to open offices in other markets in Asia, but declined to give specific locations.
The team plans to focus on building a team of experts to build the product.
The new funding round comes as Shg has been in the news for its acquisition of Chinese startup Mobein, which was acquired by Alibaba last month.
The two companies have worked together on some of the biggest acquisitions in recent history.
The acquisition of Mobe in April was a significant one for the Japanese media company, as it brought Shg closer to launching in the Chinese markets, where it currently has just 1,000 employees.
But now, the acquisition could mean the end for the Mobe brand in Japan.
“We want to keep working together with the Shg team and we will continue to do so,” Katao says.
“But right now, we have a lot of exciting projects to work on, and we would like to work with our partners in the future to expand the reach of our service to other markets.”
A recent study by the Japanese Media Research Association showed that the country had lost over one million digital media jobs over the past five years.
In 2018, digital media employment fell by almost 50 percent, and more than one in five jobs were digital freelancers.
Shge aims to attract more of its employees to the country through the launch of a mobile-friendly mobile-focused product.
“With this new funding, we will also be able to continue expanding our business by working with other companies,” Kato says.
The startup plans to use the money to expand its team, hire a marketing manager and launch the app in the next few months.
“Our team is passionate about our products and we have been working hard to build an innovative mobile-centric platform,” Katoro says of the new funding.
“I think we will be able do much better with our team as we are focused on developing the product and working with our customers to make it better.
We will be adding additional teams to the team over the coming years.”
In 2018 alone, Shg announced it had more than 1.2 billion monthly active users on its app.