China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. (BABA - Get Report) has acquired online gaming company Ejoy as the latest move in the ecommerce giant's push to dominate the lucrative gaming industry, according to China Money Network.
In addition to Wednesday's acquisition, Alibaba said it will unleash a dedicated gaming unit to expand in the sector. The company previously laid out plans earlier this year for a nearly $150 million venture into mobile gaming through strategic partnerships with developers including TFJoy and Mail.Ru.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma had previously demonstrated some reluctance to get into gaming, citing concerns for the effect on China's youth, including his own son. But since a $120 million investment in U.S. game developer Kabam in 2014, Alibaba has been rapidly expanding its gaming operations.
China's gaming industry is worth about $11.8 billion and has roughly 523 million active users. Gaming revenue could surge as much as 88% in 2017, according to IIMedia Research Group.
Alibaba stock gained 2.4% to $171.05 in mid-morning trading Wednesday, Sept. 27.
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