Is Alibaba Entering The Mobile Gaming Market?
According to the website Want China Times, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE: BABA) may soon be entering the mobile gaming market. The site reports that Alibaba is in the process of integrating Aliplay.com, Alibaba's game unit, with UCWeb.
Want China Times claims that Alibaba has turned over control of its developed games and users to UCWeb's mobile platform 9game.cn. Alibaba acquired UCWeb in June of 2014. UCWeb is known for its mobile products, including its browser and search services.
According to the report, the decision to open Taobao and Aliplay portals to 9game.cn came at the request of Alibaba users. The report cites UCWeb Vice President Lin Yongsong as saying that 9game.cn will integrate client services with marketing and focus on improving user experience, including "services that can be sensed and felt by clients."
Alibaba is also rumored to be providing $16 million in cloud service to 9game.cn game developers as part of the deal. In addition, the report claims that 9game.cn is exploring new client services it can offer in conjunction with its Alibaba partnership, including coupons for both taxi services and for Tmall.com.
According to the report, once game developers have marketed games and become profitable, they will share profits with Alibaba. Prior to the new arrangement with Alibaba, 9game.cn had previously had its own profit-sharing arrangement with game developers who use its platform.
In 2014, 9game.cn paid out $144 million to game developers.
The Chinese mobile gaming space has major growth potential, and big names such as Baidu Inc (NASDAQ: BIDU), Tencent and Qihoo 360 have already staked their claims.
It remains to be seen whether Alibaba is willing and able to gain a larger share of the Chinese mobile gaming market.
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