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How deep are Dream 11's China ties? All you need to know about IPL 2020 title sponsor

Tencent had invested $100 million in Dream11 for a majority stake in the fantasy cricket league platform as part of the latter's Series D funding in September 2018

Vivek Punj | August 19, 2020 | Updated 09:04 IST
How deep are Dream 11's China ties? All you need to know about IPL 2020 title sponsor
Tencent, China's leading gaming and social media company, is one of the investors in Dream11

After the entire hullabaloo, China is back at the Indian Premier League (IPL). Dream 11, the newly selected title sponsor for Indian Premier League, has substantial investment from Chinese conglomerate Tencent. Notably, Vivo, the previous title sponsor, had walked away from the T-20 tournament this year citing rampant negative sentiments against Chinese companies in the wake of deadly clashes between Indian and Chinese forces in Galwan valley back in May.

Tencent had invested $100 million in Dream11 for a majority stake in the fantasy cricket league platform as part of the latter's Series D funding in September 2018. While the companies hadn't declared the quantum of stake this investment amounted to, reports claimed that Tencent had acquired 10 per cent stake in Dream11.

On Tuesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India awarded the title sponsorship of IPL 2020 to Dream11 for a Rs 222 crore deal. While Tata Group did not submit a final bid for sponsorship, edu-tech firms Byju's and Unacademy came second and third.

ALSO READ: IPL 2020: Dream11 wins title sponsorship for Rs 222 crore

What is Dream11?

Dream11 was founded by Harsh Jain and Bhavit Jain in 2012. A pioneer in fantasy sport segment in India, the Mumbai-based company became the first Indian gaming company to achieve the unicorn status in April 2019 after a secondary investment from Steadview Capital Management.

Apart from Tencent and Steadview, Dream11 counts Multiples, Think Investments and Kalaari Capital among its investors. According to its website, the fantasy sport platform has partnered with IPL, BCCI, International Cricket Council (ICC), National Basketball Association (NBA), Caribbean Premier League and Australia's Big Bash League, among other sports associations and organisers.

ALSO READ: IPL 2020: Disney-Star could gain at expense of BCCI, franchises

Tencent and its India connection

Founded in 1998 in Shenzen, China, Tencent specialises in multiple ventures, video games, social media, e-commerce, entertainment, artificial intelligence, payments to name a few. It is presently the biggest gaming and social media company in China. PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile, smartphone games developed by the company in collaboration with original developers of the respective franchises, are already household names in India.

Last month, there were reports that Tencent's PUBG Mobile had been placed on a list of 275 applications that were being scrutinised by the government. This was close on the heels of ban against 106 apps that were deemed threats to national security and privacy. Word was that government was planning a similar fate for these applications. However, PUBG Mobile changed its privacy policy in July and assured that its users' data is being stored locally.

Tencent also has invested in several Indian internet platforms, including music application Gaana and internet messenger Hike.

ALSO READ: IPL franchises stare at Rs 30 crore revenue loss due to Vivo-BCCI fall out

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