China: E-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is set to with the country's largest defense equipment manufacturer to promote the Beidou satellite navigation system for civilian use, according to a report published in China Daily.
Numerous reports revealed that the cash-flush Alibaba Group has inked a deal with State-owned China North Industries Group Corp for a joint venture based on the Beidou system.
The project has registered capital of 1 billion yuan ($160 million), according to Dazhihui News Agency, an organisation affiliated with stock market consultancy Shanghai DZH Ltd.
Dazhihui, which first broke the news online, quoted sources as saying that Alibaba has big plans for Beidou that include a further expected investment of more than 10 billion yuan.
Alibaba's public relations office declined to comment because it is in its quiet period due to its IPO debuting in the United States next month. But making investments and breaking into new sectors are not something new for Alibaba, which has spent more than $5 billion since the beginning of the year and transformed its e-commerce empire into a conglomerate covering a growing number of industries, from wealth management to the media, from professional soccer to dairy.
Alibaba's latest move is expected to boost the civil use of the Beidou system, said Cao Chong, an expert with the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and Location Based Service (LBS) Association of China.
Source: China Daily