Alibaba takes $590m stake in China smartphone maker

  • AFP, Shanghai
  • Updated: Feb 09, 2015 11:55 IST

China's Alibaba has agreed to pay $590 million for a minority stake in domestic smartphone maker Meizu, a joint statement said Monday, as the e-commerce giant seeks to expand its mobile offerings.

Last year, Meizu used an operating system developed by Alibaba's cloud computing unit YunOS on its flagship smartphone.

Alibaba will integrate its mobile operating system with Meizu's hardware and provide support in e-commerce, mobile Internet and data analysis, the statement said.

"The investment in Meizu represents... an important step in our overall mobile strategy as we strive to bring users a wider array of mobile offerings and experiences," Alibaba's chief technology officer Wang Jian said in the statement.

Meizu, set up in 2003 and based in the southern city of Zhuhai, is one of China's smaller smartphone makers, ranking below the likes of Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo.

China's fractured smartphone market includes several companies selling cheaper models than the likes of Samsung, which uses the Android operating system, and Apple.

Alibaba, founded by Jack Ma in 1999, is China's biggest e-commerce company. It listed on the New York Stock Exchange last year in the world's largest public offering.

Its flagship platform Taobao is estimated to hold more than 90% of the Chinese market for consumer-to-consumer transactions.

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