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Alibaba buys app firm to lift position

ALIBABA yesterday said it has acquired domestic Android application distributor Wandoujia to strengthen its position in the mobile Internet market.

Wandoujia will merge with Alibaba’s mobile business unit, which includes UC Browser and online mapping service AutoNavi, to tap on each other’s strength.

“Both companies share the same strategic vision, and we believe Alibaba’s mobile business and Wandoujia could form a strong product offering and deliver synergies under new mobile Internet trends,” said Yu Yongfu, president of Alibaba mobile business group.

The founder of Wandoujia, Wang Junyu, said combining each other’s resources and data analytic capabilities will help shape its future growth.

Earlier media reports said the deal is valued at around US$200 million but both companies declined to comment on the financial details.

Launched in 2010, Wandoujia is one of the earliest Android app distributors in China. Former Google China head Kaifu Lee’s Innovation Works, Softbank Group and DCM have invested in it.

Alibaba has been trying to catch up with Baidu and Tencent in the mobile Internet sector. According to Beijing-based Big Data Research, Baidu, Tencent and Qihoo 360 took the top spots among Android app distributors in China in the first quarter.

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