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Jon Russell of The Next Web reports, “Alibaba is gearing up for one of the largest technology IPOs in history with more significant strategy and investment moves. The latest, this week, saw the company lead a $1.2 billion investment in Chinese online video service Youku Tudou and link up with browser-make UC Web to launch a mobile search joint venture. Youku Tudou, which is comparable to a Chinese version of YouTube, is taking on investment from Alibaba and Yunfeng Capital, which will hold 16.5 percent and 2 percent shares respectively. The deal values Youku Tudou — which is listed on the NYSE and was created following a billion dollar merger in 2012 — at over $6.5 billion, but moreover it is a sign of Alibaba’s ambition to move into entertainment and mobile. Jack Ma, the iconic founder and now executive chairman of Alibaba, said that the deal would ‘accelerate our digital entertainment and video content strategy… and bring new products and services to Alibaba’s customers’.”

 

Russell continues, “Alibaba previously invested in UC Web — which recently hit 500 million quarterly users – and now it is pooling its collective brains with Shenma, a joint venture to offer a ‘mobile-centric search experience’ to users. In addition to semantic app search — via a single interface to search China’s many fragmented app stores — and book search, it is ‘deeply integrated’ with a range of Alibaba products, including its Alipay payments service, and Taobao and T-Mall retail stores. UC Web says it browser sees more than six billion mobile search queries per month. With this joint venture, Alibaba is aiming to tap into UC Web to gain an even greater hold of mobile users.”

 

Read more here.