Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and mobile developer UCWeb today announced their latest joint venture: mobile content search.
The two companies have created a mobile search engine for apps, shopping, and ebooks, in addition to the more traditional search model. The development of Shen Ma actually began in July of last year. Sina Tech reports Alibaba owns 30 percent of the new search engine and UCWeb owns 70 percent.
Last October, Alibaba invested US$50 million in US-based app search engine Quixey, showing company’s growing interest in mobile search.
UCWeb CEO Yu Yongfu says the amount of mobile search queries will surpass PC search by the end of the year. It’s unclear so far exactly how Shen Ma will be integrated into UCWeb’s other products, such as UC Browser, which now has over 500 million active users worldwide.
Future developments for Shen Ma include voice search and image search. Mobile content search is a growing vertical as users spend less time on mobile browsers and more time on their apps. We’ve seen companies like China’s Wandoujia, one of the country’s most popular app stores, shift toward the same direction.
(Source: Sina Tech)