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Alibaba to Invest $590Million in SmartphoneMaker Meizu

Sajee

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China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said
on Monday it will buy a minority stake in
little-known domestic smartphone maker
Meizu Technology Co for $590 million
(roughly Rs. 3,603 crores), as the e-
commerce giant extends its hardware
growth strategy into mobile devices.

Alibaba, now worth $213 billion (roughl
Rs. 13,00,910 crores) by market value,
didn't disclose how big its holding will b
in a privately owned handset maker that
is a distant rival to much bigger
smartphone firms like Xiaomi Inc. Based
in Zhuhai, Guangdong, Meizu employs
more than 1,000 people, according to its
website.

The deal will help Alibaba push its mobil
operating system within China through
Meizu's handsets, while giving Meizu
access to Alibaba's e-commerce sales
channels and other resources, the
companies said in a joint statement.

Alibaba has in the past concentrated on
software and services, including its core
e-commerce business. Now, in a move
reminiscent of U.S. rival Amazon Inc's
own foray into smartphones with the Fir
Phone, the Meizu investment builds on
Alibaba's more recent efforts to develop
in hardware, like internet TV via set-top
boxes.

"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," said Wang Jian, Alibaba's
chief technology officer, in Monday's
statement.

China is the world's largest smartphone
market, with 557 million people
accessing the internet via mobile devices,
according to government data.

But smartphone sales are flagging.
Shipments in China were 389 million
phones in 2014, down from 423 million
the previous year, according to China's
Ministry of Industry and Information
Technology.

Meizu also doesn't feature among
China's top smartphone brands. The top
four in the fourth quarter of 2014 were
Apple Inc, Xiaomi, Samsung Electronics
Co Ltd and Huawei Technologies Co Ltd,
according to data research firm Canalys

http://m.gadgets.ndtv.com/mobiles/news/alibaba-to-invest-590-million-in-smartphone-maker-meizu-658580
 
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