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Alibaba (and his 40 robbers) ventures into the phone business

meizu_2Jack Ma, reportedly China’s richest man after the successful launch of his baby ‘Alibaba’ on Wall Street last fall, is determined to invest the billions he made from the IPO, strategically. Alibaba, the owner of web-based retail sites such as Taobao and Tmall, is about to acquire an unspecified minority stake in Meizu, the Chinese cell phone manufacturer.

Rumor has it however, that Alibaba put up $590 million for the deal. The acquisition fits in neatly with Alibaba’s in-house investment into its own mobile operating system called YunOS, which was launched in 2012.

Meizu does not count as one of the top five Chinese manufacturers of mobile phones, but it is apparently catching up with the competition: In January, the company introduced its own top-end product called the MX4 which retails for the equivalent of $290. Meizu products have been fully compatible with YunOS since last fall.

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