SingTel Innov8, the venture arm of telecom group SingTel, and Japanese software firm Mitsui have invested $5 million in General Mobile, which has closed a new round of funding that will help the emerging market-focused mobile firm focus on new opportunities.
The new funding will be used to expand and fund future growth in selected emerging markets, where General Mobile — also know as G-Mobi — is concentrating on developing opportunities for its mobile Internet business.
Existing backers include MediaTek, and the Taiwanese based firm’s chipsets are among those that are used as a platform on top of which General Mobile’s products and services are built.
The company works with operators and mobile industry players to develop and run a range of other services, including mobile applications, app stores, servers and billing systems.
Paul Wu, CEO of General Mobile, explains its focus in more detail:
At General Mobile, our mission is to provide a one-stop service by integrating all key elements required to run the business from devices, platforms, telecom operators, content providers, and channels. With this round of investment, we have on board world-class strategic partners across all the fields to help accelerate our worldwide service deployment as well as enabling us to provide a more complete set of services and solutions.
General Mobile’s services are used across Southeast Asia, Africa, India, East Europe and Latin America, where smartphone ownership is growing but remains niche among the mass markets. This leaves significant opportunities for operators and companies that can make, produce and run mobile and Web services that take advantage of feature phones and other affordable technology.
The deal has been speculated for a couple of weeks, after a report from Japan by The Nikkei claimed that SingTel would grab a 12 percent with Mitsui taking 19 percent. However, the exact breakdown of the equity has not been revealed.
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