Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has bought a $590m (£388m) minority stake in Chinese smartphone maker Meizu.
The move signals Alibaba’s first major foray into smartphone hardware as it looks to build a platform for its YunOS mobile operating system.
In a joint statement, the two companies said they will collaborate “to achieve a deeper integration of Meizu’s hardware and Alibaba Group’s mobile operating system”. The Guangdong-based Meizu will be granted access to Alibaba’s sales channels, data analysis and other resources as part of the deal.
Alibaba’s chief technology officer Wang Jian commented:
The investment in Meizu represents a significant expansion of the Alibaba Group ecosystem and an important step in our overall mobile strategy as we strive to bring users a wider array of mobile offerings and experiences.
Since its record-breaking IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last year, Alibaba has looked to diversify its business.
The e-commerce firm made a $500m investment in India’s One97 Communications (which owns India’s primary mobile payment platform), has been a part of a $600m financing round for domestic taxi app Kuaidi Dache and has bought a controlling stake in marketing firm AdChina.