News / Asia

Alibaba to Set Up Mobile Gaming Platform in China

FILE - A young girl plays a game on the new iPhone5c.
FILE - A young girl plays a game on the new iPhone5c.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said on Wednesday it would set up a mobile gaming platform in China, venturing into a fast growing sector dominated by tech rival Tencent Holdings Ltd.
 
Mobile gaming is hugely popular in China, home to the largest number of smartphone users in the world. In 2013, mobile gaming revenue accounted for 11.24 billion yuan ($1.86 billion), or 13.5 percent of the overall Chinese video gaming market, the world's third largest.
 
Liu Chunning, a former Tencent executive who now heads Alibaba's digital entertainment business, said in a statement the mobile gaming platform would be offered free to developers for the first year.
 
He did not say, however, when it would be set up and the statement gave few other details.
 
Alibaba spokeswoman Florence Shih said the platform would be launched in the near future. “We're not making mobile games, we're the platform operator,” she added.
 
A person familiar with the matter said the platform may have its own dedicated app or could be integrated into existing Alibaba apps such as e-commerce app Mobile Taobao or Laiwang, a social messaging app.
 
Alibaba's platform will have to compete with Tencent, which reported revenue of 338 million yuan ($55.86 million) from mobile gaming in the January-March quarter of last year.
 
Tencent's social messaging app WeChat, which includes games, is used by more than half of all Chinese smartphone users. The number of monthly active WeChat users grew 124 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013, and figures from domestic app stores showing Tencent's mobile games are also hugely popular.
 
In October, Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank Corp , which has a 36.7 percent stake in Alibaba, agreed to pay $1.53 billion for a 51 percent stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, valuing the small firm which generated hit games like “Clash of Clans” and “Hay Day” at $3 billion.
 
It was not immediately clear whether Alibaba would leverage that relationship to its advantage.
 
Alibaba is widely expected to launch an IPO this year. It has been conservatively estimated to be worth over $100 billion.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid