Alibaba Group aims to have its homegrown YunOS mobile operating system power millions of smartphones in China over the long term, throwing a challenge to Google’s Android.
“We always take the long view — 10, 15 years,” Bloomberg quoted Alibaba’s vice chairman Joseph Tsai as saying in a recent interview. “What really matters is that in the long run a lot of people are using phones with our OS.”
The aim dovetails with the Chinese government’s push for smartphone makers to reduce dependence on Android, which currently powers nine out of ten mobile devices sold in China.
Tsai also said that YunOS can knit services together for Alibaba as the e-commerce giant steps beyond clothes and gadgets to entertainment and health care.
Some analysts believe Alibaba will push its operating system by acquiring a handset maker.
The company, which has just completed an US$8 billion bond sale, could pursue a possible stake in Xiaomi Corp., China’s largest smartphone vendor, or it could invest in Hong Kong-listed Coolpad Group to guarantee that YunOS is installed on the factory floor, the report said.
“We expect Alibaba to take several attempts at the smartphone market over the next decade,” Neil Mawston, an executive director at market research and consultancy firm Strategy Analytics Inc., was quoted as saying.
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