China-born audio networking app Tiya sets up headquarters in Singapore – TechCrunch

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TikTok may be the most successful app to emerge from China and make impressive international inroads, but there are a host of smaller entertainment apps built in China that replicate their models overseas as well.

Tiya is one of them. Born from the Chinese podcasting platform Lizhi, it offers a real-time, audio-based networking experience. Sound familiar? Yes, Tiya has been compared to Clubhouse. And thanks to Clubhouse fashion last year, Lizhi saw her stock skyrocket in spring 2021.

But the idea behind Tiya predates the rise (and fall) of Clubhouse. The app launched in 2019 and attracts quite a different audience, many of whom use it to chat while playing games together. Its parent company Lizhi, founded in 2013, incorporated interactive features into audio content early on, allowing listeners to send messages and buy virtual gifts for creators. The business model of selling virtual items quickly proved to be a revenue driver.

Over the past three years, Tiya has steadily gained traction in the United States, its number one market, and is now poised to double its international expansion. The app announced today that it has set up a 10,000 square foot headquarters in Singapore, nestled alongside giants like Yahoo and Goldman Sachs in the central business district.

With the opening of the office, the application will be available for download in Singapore from the first quarter of this year. Worldwide, Tiya has amassed nearly 20 million downloads, but it’s unclear how many active users.

Moving overseas is a natural move for Chinese tech companies with growing international footprints. Take TikTok. As it took off around the world, the video-sharing app began to significantly strengthen its operational strength outside of China. It also stores user data in Singapore, he claims, as data security concerns grow among Western regulators. China’s new data security law also tightens how companies can transfer data overseas, so it may be in companies’ interests to isolate their domestic and foreign data.

Tiya’s headquarters in Singapore will house departments for functions such as big data, human resources, user research, administration and operations, a team that will support its “technology platform and product development,” the company said in a statement. announcement. It aims to have a “fully operational team” in the city-state by the end of 2022 and plans to “roll its latest version of the app gradually around the world”. As part of its hiring effort, it has signed a partnership with Nanyang Technological University to recruit graduates.

“We are confident that with the introduction of Tiya to Singapore and with our local team of world-class talent, we will be able to achieve greater success in the region,” said Marco Lai, Chairman of Tiya and founder of Lizhi.

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