By Richard Lee, Co-founder and Head of Execution
It’s Thursday morning at 7:30 – have just been to the gym for the first time in three days, No Diggety
by Black Street is playing and I’m sitting in a hotel restaurant in Beijing pondering whether to have a
hundred year old egg or fish congee for breakfast…
More importantly, it’s the first chance I’ve had to sit down and gather my thoughts on a whirlwind three
days in China…
As an overall summary, I’m really excited about China – what it represents for the FENIX ecosystem
as a whole and the partners we have in place to allow us to add something incredible to the global
FENIX ecosystem as we move to launch and rollout of the product… Everyday, someone I speak to,
wherever we are, reaffirms to me that FENIX is ready and that its going to make a huge statement in
the music landscape.
So… enough of the fluffy stuff, WTF have I actually been doing?
Two days with Master Lu and the FENIX CHINA Team
Allan and myself spent Monday and Tuesday with our new partner, Master Lu and his team (or more
accurately the FENIX China Team) actually getting down to the details of how we go about this.
Monday was an unusual one for me – Allan and I were both invited by Master Lu to speak as senior
consultants at his annual gathering of entrepreneurs to introduce the blockchain, how it applies to
industry and how it would allow FENIX to go at the music industry in a completely new way, outside of
the constraints of the existing industry. I also spoke to the group for over two hours in the afternoon
about raising money through the capital markets, both traditional and the new world of ICOs outside
It was an amazing day for me, spending time with 80 captains of their respective industries, and
explaining to them from scratch the principles of FENIX in an industry that was alien to many of
Remind me again why FENIX is different?
It’s a common theme I have whenever I introduce FENIX to people – in very very simple terms, why is
FENIX different to the many music offerings out there… And to be frank, showing them a slick version
of the App, even if it’s a Chinese version, doesn’t necessarily make it any clearer…
At the end of the day, the FENIX App looks like a music player – it allows people to find music and
play it and if they don’t know what they want to listen to, FENIX recommends great tunes… FENIX
does provide a lot of information about artists, but then a lot of music services provide a lot of
So, when you have to explain through a translator why FENIX is really different to anything else
people have seen before, it really concentrates the mind… and what I have come up with this:
For the band, it’s all about:
- simplicity and
- access to new markets with a real chance to be heard.
We strongly believe that FENIX will allow new artists to break globally and for unsigned artists, it gives
them a pathway that otherwise they have no idea how to get started on.
For the fan, the greatest difference is the simple fact that FENIX represents access directly to the
artist. If I listen to music on a streaming service, whether its international like Spotify or Apple Music,
or Chinese like QQ Music or NetEase Music, I have no access whatsoever to the artist… With FENIX,
because the source of content is the artist themselves, fans get what they really want – the chance to – reach out and touch their favorite artists.
If you really love a band, the chance of actually hearing from or buying access to the artist themselves is a game changer… and remember, its not FENIX telling them about that access – the information is coming from the artist directly to their fans…
FENIX China – getting down to work
Tuesday was really about getting on with the work – The ceremonial stuff was done, we had all patted
ourselves on the back, shaken hands and taken the photos. Now was certainly the time to roll our
sleeves up and get on with real work.
It was a day spent with the ten people in the FENIX China team for our first real sit down to discuss
how we get from a great idea to becoming a serious player in the China online music space. Master
Lu hasn’t transformed more than 300 companies into nationwide brands by accident and his team is
already firing on all cylinders…
We started the morning by hearing their thoughts of Chinese names for FENIX – it’s never as simple
as FENIX China… the team had looked at more than 200 potential names before shortlisting five – all
of which were multilayered in their meanings with a variety of interpretations for what the FENIX
platform was… We have settled on a great Chinese name and will be announcing it shortly…
We then spent time looking at the Chinese version of the FENIX App that Luke, Jon and their team
have been working so hard on… Our focus was on making sure that everyone understood what
FENIX looks like and what the FENIX engine does behind the scene…
Having allowed everyone to understand that and importantly to test it for themselves, we then went
through an analysis comparing FENIX with what’s already out there in the Chinese space, where we
are better and where we can add easy wins to the service we offer. We looked at music services, but
also at other industries for ideas. The net result was more than ten new ideas for the FENIX App, both
in Chinese and English – some for immediate integration and others to work out into the development plan.
The afternoon session involved the introduction of Master Lu’s sales and marketing team, and
working through with them the plan for securing a large amount of quality artists quickly within China.
A big takeaway from the discussion, and other discussions we have been having with artists here is
the scale of the Chinese market:
- QQ’s music offering, which has filed to list on NASDAQ purports to have almost 700 million
users, as compared to Spotify’s 90 million paid subscribers worldwide.
- A new and upcoming artist in China could have 1 million fans, and there are hundreds, if not
thousands, in every major city trying to make their way through music.
No question from any of us that if we get it right in China, and the benefits for the entire global FENIX
ecosystem are massive.
Master Lu has been building brand awareness in China successfully for many years and has a clear
plan for doing the same for FENIX. His team are now working hard with a clear understanding of what
FENIX is going to be in China to identify the key and approach the key artists that will underpin the
explosive growth of FENIX on launch in China.
We also spent time discussing the importance of opening up the scale of China to global artists and of
helping Chinese artists raise their presence internationally – we have a number of exciting ways to approach this and are working out the best ways to work them into our technology and our roll-out
As a result of Tuesday’s meeting, both sides have a list of things to get on with that we are all working
through at full speed. I am bridging both sides and everyone is fully committed to driving the project
Advisors, artists and more
I have also met a number of exciting additions to our China advisory board over the last 72 hours –
people at the top of their games, all of whom love what FENIX is going to do, in China and globally.
They are all good people and all seem proactive in terms of getting out there and spreading the word
of what FENIX can do. Importantly, they give us the collective on-the-ground knowledge that is critical
when breaking any new market, and doubly so in a market the size of China.
I am collating the relevant info, photos and CVs of each of them, and we plan to start announcing new
members of our China advisory board imminently.
And again – the ever-present elephant in the room, funding…
With BTC falling below $6,000 and QTUM dropping over 10% in the last 24 hours, lets call fundraising
with any project that has blockchain elements, somewhat tricky… The ICO market has had yet
another kick to the crotch and is writhing in pain on the floor, and of course, in China, there is no talk
of ICOs in any event.
What I will say is this – Short term money is still available, albeit harder than ever to get our hands
on… Allan and William remain incredibly focused on closing a number of these deals that they have
worked on for several weeks now.
We have two deals in place, both of which I believe are capable of bringing in a significant amount
before the launch of a formal deal and I believe that we also have a path to the entire deal, although
this is neither the time, nor the forum for me to announce that yet.
However, if you ask me to look you in the eyes and tell you whether I am confident about the funding
situation, I would respond to you with this:
- I am confident that we are going to get the whole thing done, irrespective of whether the ICO
market bounces back.
- I am also confident that we will raise the money to bridge us through to the time that we do that. That confidence is based on the deals we have in place with our partners here in China and in the trust I have that they are able to deliver meaningful amounts.
- In terms of immediate monies into the account, I do have to say that I am less sure of how and when we close those deals, but believe that there are enough of them in play to see us through to the bridging monies.
China – wow!!!
I know I mentioned it earlier, but I have to say that there is much about China that people, including
myself, will simply struggle to comprehend unless they are on the ground seeing it for themselves. I
had a good idea about the scale of China – I have, after all, been doing deals here for many years.
What I didn’t fully grasp was the state of technological advancement here – China really has just gotten on with things and thrown its mighty resources at driving its adoption of technology way ahead of much of the western world. And its not only the specialists that get it – everywhere we go, people
are now using their mobile devices to do a raft of things several years ahead of what I see in
Australia, Europe and the US.
And of course, the wealth – so many people in China have made so much money in recent years…
Put all of this together and China really is a thoroughly unstoppable force of nature.
And that is the reason for much of my excitement from this trip – not only do we know what China can
be for the global FENIX platform, but we have in place first rate partners to enable us to use the
fantastic FENIX product to make a real dent in the market here.
In terms of rolling out a global ecosystem of real scale powered by FENIX Tokens, that is what has
me humming along to Fatboy Slim’s Praise You as I work my way through a much safer bowl of fruit