Spotify steps up Asia expansion with plans to launch in Vietnam and Thailand

Fresh from speculation around an impending IPO, Spotify is hitting the gas on its expansion plans in Asia.

Two sources close to the company told TechCrunch that the firm is working to launch its music streaming business in Vietnam and Thailand, two countries with a combined population of over 160 million. The sources added that Spotify is also getting more serious about an expansion to India, which could potentially happen as soon as this year.

Spotify declined to comment when contacted by TechCrunch, however, in a tell-tale sign, it is hiring for “music editor” positions for both Vietnam and Thailand. Both jobs are based at the company’s Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore, but the creation of that role is a common pre-cursor to a full country launch. For example, back in October 2015, Spotify was hiring a music editor for Indonesia — the company launched its service in the country six months later. That suggests that launches in Vietnam and Thailand could happen in 2017.

The Spotify service claims upwards of 100 million registered users and more than 50 million paying subscribers. While it is available in more than 60 countries worldwide, there are still pockets in Asia where it is yet to enter. One of the most obvious future destinations is India, a huge country with bags of potential for digital services. Taking even a moderate slice of the Indian market could be a timely boost as the firm is reported to be “seriously considering” the possibility of joining a U.S. stock market without holding an IPO.

In February, we reported on Spotify’s difficult financial position and that the company is trying to improve its business model ahead of going public. At the time, Spotify was weighing a plan to delay its IPO to 2018. But the success of Snap’s debut and other recent IPOs means that the “window” is now open, with more and more companies braving the public markets because of warm investor reception.

We reported last year that the Swedish firm was looking into the possibilities in India and that remains the case, albeit that so-called “easier” markets like Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Thailand have been prioritized since then. Competitors in India’s music streaming market include local services Tiger Global-backed Saavn and Times Internet’s Gaana while Apple entered in 2015 and Google Play Music officially arrived this year. To be clear, Spotify isn’t about to launch in India, but it is raising its efforts to see what is possible.