Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba plans to launch a mobile gaming platform as it continues to expand its presence in mobile.
The games platform will open a new revenue stream for the company which will take a 20 per cent cut of revenue from app sales and in-app purchases with developers taking 70 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent of revenue will be donated to charity.
The platform will store payment options, virtual currencies and game data and will be linked to the AliCloud cloud platform and Alipay payment technology.
The timing of the platform’s launch was not disclosed.
Mobile gaming is clearly a huge opportunity in China, with official figures cited by Alizila, Alibaba’s news website, valuing the country’s mobile games market at CNY11.2 billion ($1.85 billion) in 2013, a 247 per cent year-on-year increase.
The publication said mobile games have surged in popularity as Chinese consumers are familiar with free-to-play games which support in-app purchasing. There are now 310 million mobile gamers in China, a 248 per cent year-on-year increase.
The game platform is the latest effort by Alibaba to gain a stronger foothold in the mobile internet space, which it sees as crucial to the company’s future success.
It launched the Laiwang messaging app in September to compete with Tencent’s WeChat, racking up 10 million users by November. The company also offers mobile shopping app Mobile Taobao and e-payment app, Alipay Wallet.
In addition, it was reported last September that Alibaba could soon see its apps pre-installed on smartphones provided by China Telecom.
Alibaba strengthened its hand in mobile in 2013 by taking stakes in Chinese microblogging platform Weibo, as well as music streaming site Xiami and the UCWeb mobile browser.
Another Chinese web giant, Baidu, acquired mobile app distributor 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion in July last year.