Maschmeyer Invests in ‘iTunes for China’ 88tc88

By David Knight |

The man behind German financial services giant AWD has invested in 88tc88, a startup offering an iTunes-like service in China. Carsten Maschmeyer has stumped up a seven-figure sum through his investment company ALSTIN to help the Berlin-based company exploit the huge untapped market to the east.

88tc88 provides access to Western music, games and apps to a Chinese market still largely reliant on illegal downloads – a situation reminiscent of other parts of the world not so long ago, as the company’s CEO Thomas Reemer told Silicon Allee: “This investment means the chance to offer a lively legal alternative to an audience that has so far been well served only by illegal sites. It’s not even ten years ago that we in the West were facing the same reality.”

The available content, which also includes lyrics and e-books, can be downloaded in China at cost price on 88tc88’s B2C sales platform Paishou88. The firm has already closed multiple agreements with music labels, artists and distributors to explore a market where other Western content providers have yet to venture.

The new investment will fund an expansion of the company’s Chinese sales team as well as its business operations. Following the soft launch of Paishou88, the China-wide roll out of 88tc88 is expected to be accomplished by the end of 2012.

Jörg Goschin, CEO of ALSTIN, said: “Paishou88 attracts 350 million young Chinese and satisfies their strong demand for Western digital media. We trust 88tc88 to quickly gain popularity, especially through social networks.” Carsten Maschmeyer said he was confident the startup can establish itself as the “leading e-commerce platform for Western music and content in China.”

Dubbed by Thomas Reemer a “cultural enabling engine”, 88tc88 offers Western companies a one-stop solution of translation, approval by the Chinese authorities, product globalisation and international publishing and sales.

The concept was conceived while Thomas was travelling in China in 2009, with the service officially launching at South By Southwest in March 2011. Thomas had been invited by the Chinese government to work on the Green Dam project, the internet and content-control software used in China.

He told Silicon Allee earlier this year: “Western people are shocked by that, because they think it’s a bit sinister. But it’s actually not, it’s controlled dynamics. Because the country is still growing up, it needs that control to be able to take full advantage of the concept of freedom that we have.”