Alibaba, the huge online retailer based in China, is making yet another move in the mobile gaming industry. This week, it announced plans to invest 1 billion RMB (about $145 million) to help launch a global distribution network for mobile games.
The company will establish other partnerships with companies like Russia’s Mail.ru Group, TFJoy from the Netherlands, China’s Efun and ONEMT from the Middle East. Together, those five companies will launch what is being called the “Global Strategic Alliance of Game Distribution”.
What does this mean? Basically, these groups of businesses feel that the distribution of mobile games has not been equal in all markets. Some, like the US and Europe, have more mature distribution organizations for releasing mobile games. Other markets are not quite as advanced. The idea is that this group will help level the playing field for countries and markets that are being overlooked for the most part by mobile game publishers and developers, including places like the Middle East, Latin America and some countries in Southeast Asia.
Alibaba has made a number of investments in Western gaming companies over the past few years, including one for Kabam in 2014 for $120 million that would allow its games to be distributed in China. This new venture sounds like a logical extension of its plans to expand its reach in that growing market, especially in countries where there is still a ton of growth potential.