China's Alibaba is spinning off its Aliyun OS into a seperate business unit

China's Alibaba bolsters its own mobile OS with $200M investment

Days after feuding with Google over its mobile operating system, Alibaba Group said on Thursday it would spin off its Aliyun OS into a separate business unit, and invest US$200 million to back the new venture.

The announcement came from Alibaba Group's CEO Jack Ma in an internal email that was leaked to the media. Alibaba declined to comment, but a source familiar with the matter confirmed its veracity.

The Aliyun OS, developed and originally operated by an Alibaba Group subsidiary called Alibaba Cloud Computing, will now be run as a separate business unit with its own president and chief technology officer. The $200 million investment will go towards improving the Aliyun OS's talent base, technology and infrastructure.

In the email, Ma said the move was being made to secure the "healthy growth" of the OS and implement the company's next step in its wireless strategy.

The Aliyun OS, a Linux-based mobile operating system, was first launched last year as a way to bring more Alibaba-powered Internet services to users and provide a new mobile ecosystem for China.

Last week, however, the operating system met stiff resistance from Google when the search giant accused the Aliyun OS of being an Android variant incompatible with the rest of the Android ecosystem. Caught in the dispute was PC maker Acer, which had originally planned to launch a smartphone using the Aliyun OS, but later decided to cancel its release.

Analysts expect Alibaba's dispute with Google could prevent bigger-name smartphone vendors from using the Aliyun OS. Currently only two local Chinese handset vendors have built handsets using the Aliyun OS as Android continues to dominate China's smartphone market, now with an 81 percent share, according to research firm Canalys.

Alibaba's investment in the Aliyun OS, however, signals that the company has major plans for its mobile operating system. Last year, Alibaba spun off a shopping search engine and a retail e-commerce site into separate companies as a way to help them expand their reach in China.

Jonathan Lu, Alibaba's chief data officer, will lead the new Aliyun OS unit as president. In his duties, Lu will be meeting with hardware vendors to secure business for the Aliyun OS, said a source familiar with the matter.

Increasingly, Alibaba and other Internet firms in China are expanding in the country's mobile Internet space, as mobile phones have become the most popular way for users in China go online. Retail e-commerce sites under Alibaba expect revenues from mobile shopping to explode in the coming years.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?