Chinese internet giant Alibaba has invested US$590 million in smartphone maker Meizu. The amount is pocket change to the company that recently broke records with its IPO that was held last September. A joint statement from the two companies has indicated that the move is intended to help Alibaba push its own mobile OS.
Alibaba appears to be preparing to follow Amazon in pushing a home grown smartphone to market. Aliyun, Alibaba’s own OS, was last seen on phones made by Chinese manufacturer Zopo. A partnership that appears to have not been to the satisfaction of the web giant.
Meizu has been working on competing with other Chinese manufacturers like Oppo and Xiaomi. Several models from the company have already made their way to our shores, although those currently run on Google’s Android OS. Aliyun itself is a different operating system that maintains Android compatibility through a proprietary emulation layer.
Whether this investment will cause Meizu to abandon Android for Aliyun, but it is certainly a possibility. How that would affect Meizu’s marketing plan and sales is a question. If the Amazon Fire Phone was anything to go by, this will not go well at all.