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Hooq Asian Streamer Bought From Liquidator By Korean Online Retailer (Report)

Hooq home page
Courtesy of HOOQ

South Korean e-commerce company Coupang is believed to have acquired Hooq, the Southeast Asian streaming platform that was put into liquidation in March.

The information was reported by the Bloomberg financial news service, without quoting any company sources. The report said that Coupang is buying the company’s software, having already acquired its assets. Another report said that the liquidation process had been halted.

“We’re looking for diverse business opportunities for our customers, but we cannot say anything about rumors or undefined plans,” Coupang told Variety in an emailed statement. Hooq, Singtel (Hooq’s previous majority owner) and the official firm of liquidators in Singapore did not respond to enquiries on Friday.

Hooq had been operational as a video streamer in five countries – Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philippines and India – from 2015 until March 2020, when Singtel announced that it had pulled the plug on the company, after years of losses.

At the time of Hooq’s voluntary liquidation announcement, Singtel had an indirect 76.5% interest in Hooq, with WarnerMedia and Sony sharing the balance.

The Bloomberg report leaves many elements unclear. Top of the list is whether Coupang is buying Hooq’s content, much of which had been owned through a separate company in Mauritius. Hooq Digital Mauritius was put into liquidation on May 8.

Other questions focus on Coupang’s intention for the assets and software that it is supposedly acquiring. The privately-held company dominates the South Korean e-commerce market and may be looking to diversify into other business fields. The online retail and streaming video model has been pioneered by Amazon Prime and Alibaba, and aped by other Asian tech companies including Grab and Gojek.

If Coupang indeed sees complementarity between shopping and streaming, it is currently unexplained how the company sees a Singapore-based platform as part of that. To date, Coupang is largely focused on activities within Korea.