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Alibaba: Investing $150+ Million a Year in Mobile OS to Beat Android, iOS

China’s biggest e-commerce company, Alibaba, launched its Aliyun mobile OS back in July of last year, bringing an entirely new mobile ecosystem into the crowded space that’s dominated by Android and iOS. And now Wang Jian, the president of Alibaba Cloud Computing (the department that created the Aliyun OS), has said that the e-tailer is willing to invest RMB 1 billion ($158 million) per year in its development, with a dedicated R&D team of 1,200 people.

Even with the might of the company behind it, the OS limped to one million in sales in its first year, and is currently found on two smartphone models – the K-Touch W800, and the budget Haier Zing (pictured). One million is a pretty large figure, but with nearly 200 million 3G users in the country, and Android and iOS usage growing at 401 percent in China, it’s tough to see how it can be a contender. But Aliyun will get a new flagship phone very soon – we’ve seen it, and it does indeed look like more of a world-class smartphone than the two that came before it – so that might have an impact by the time of next year’s sales figures.

The cloud-oriented OS focuses on web apps and is based on Linux – not adapted from Android. But it can run Android apps via virtualization, giving users access to lots of neat apps and games. In Wang Jian’s talk with local media, as reported by Techweb, the Ph.D and computer engineer said that Aliyun is mainly going after Google’s Android OS. He stressed that, in terms of mobile usage of cloud computing, Google wasn’t doing it right, and he and his team is confident that Aliyun represents the better way to do a mobile platform.

[Source: Techweb - article in Chinese]


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