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Alibaba and Tencent Team Up in Rare Collaboration for Esports Live Streaming

Updated: Jan 2

[Edited] Alibaba to Launch Mobile Gaming Platform in China.

Children playing Honour of Kings by Tencent
Credit: Reuters

In a move to tap into the rapidly growing mobile gaming sector in China, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has announced its plans to establish a mobile gaming platform in the country.

This sector is currently dominated by its tech rival, Tencent Holdings Ltd. China, being home to the largest number of smartphone users in the world, has seen a tremendous surge in the popularity of mobile gaming. In 2013, mobile gaming revenue accounted for 11.24 billion yuan (£1.13 billion), which represented 13.5 percent of the overall Chinese video gaming market, making it the world's third-largest market.

Liu Chunning, the former Tencent executive who now heads Alibaba's digital entertainment business, stated that the mobile gaming platform would be offered free to developers for the first year. However, no specific details were provided regarding the launch date or other features of the platform.

Alibaba's spokesperson, Florence Shih, confirmed that the platform would be launched in the near future. She emphasized that Alibaba's role would be that of a platform operator rather than a mobile game developer. It is speculated that the platform may have its own dedicated app or could be integrated into existing Alibaba apps such as the e-commerce app Mobile Taobao or the social messaging app Laiwang.

Alibaba's entry into the mobile gaming market will put it in direct competition 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 by 124 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2013, and Tencent's mobile games have also gained significant popularity according to figures from domestic app stores.

It remains to be seen whether Alibaba will leverage its relationship with SoftBank Corp, which has a 36.7 percent stake in Alibaba, and recently acquired a majority stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell for $1.53 billion. Supercell is known for hit games like "Clash of Clans" and "Hay Day," and the acquisition valued the company at $3 billion.

Alibaba is widely expected to launch an IPO this year, with a conservative estimate of its worth being over $100 billion.

  • Alibaba plans to establish a mobile gaming platform in China, entering a sector dominated by Tencent.

  • China has the largest number of smartphone users and mobile gaming revenue accounted for 13.5 percent of the overall Chinese video gaming market in 2013.

  • The platform will be offered free to developers for the first year, but specific details and launch date are yet to be announced.

Source: Reuters

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