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Alibaba Invests $590 Million in Meizu, a Smartphone Maker You've Probably Never Heard Of

The Chinese phone maker is little known outside its home turf, but sold 1.5 million phones last month alone.


Alibaba said Sunday that it is investing $590 million for an undisclosed stake in Meizu, a fast-growing Chinese smartphone maker.

While not necessarily on the global radar yet, Meizu has been gaining ground in the phone market at home, selling a million smartphones in December and 1.5 million smartphones last month.

The company got its start in 2003 as a maker of MP3 players and transitioned to making smartphones in 2007. It is best known in China, but also sells in places like Russia, France, Italy, Malaysia and the Philippines, as well as globally through its e-commerce site.

Alibaba said that it will hold a minority stake in Meizu, but did not say how much of the company it will own. The two companies will work to pair Alibaba’s mobile operating system and e-commerce technology into Meizu’s phones, and Alibaba will also sell Meizu phones and other devices through its online marketplaces.

“The investment in Meizu represents a significant expansion of the Alibaba Group ecosystem and an important step in our overall mobile strategy,” Alibaba Group CTO Jian Wang said in a statement.

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