Japan's DeNA to offer game platform on Alibaba's mobile OS

DeNA and Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba have formed a partnership to offer mobile games on the new Aliyun OS.

Japanese mobile platform operator DeNA said Wednesday it will offer its core game software on the Aliyun mobile OS developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.

The companies have agreed that DeNA's Mobage platform will come preloaded on a new Aliyun-based mobile phone to be launched early next year, the K-touch W800 made by Chinese manufacturer Tianyu. DeNA will also provide its development software for the platform to local game producers.

The deal will provide Alibaba with dedicated content for its mobile operating system that went live in July, and took three years and 1,200 engineers to create. In October, the company announced a 1 billion yuan (US$157 million) fund to support app development, and has also launched a 1 million yuan app-building competition.

The Aliyun OS can run Android apps, but has been designed to be Web-based, with online sync and 100GB of virtual storage provided to users.

DeNA, which is aggressively expanding abroad, will by the deal with Alibaba gain access to a new segment of China's mobile market, where it launched a localized network earlier this year to tap into the rapid proliferation of smartphones. It also gains a strong partner, as Alibaba Group includes large Internet properties such as Taobao Mall and Taobao Marketplace, two of China's largest online retailers.

The Japanese firm has also been active in the U.S., where it acquired mobile game firm ngmoco last year. DeNA games are often offered free of charge, making money on in-game virtual items purchased on its platform.

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Jay Alabaster

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