Carl-Johan Skoeld commented on Baidu’s recent acquisition of 91 Wireless in the New York times. Click here to go to original article.
Summary of article:
Baidu, the leading search engine in China, signed a deal last week to buy an operator of mobile application stores called 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion from an online video game company, NetDragon. The move should help Baidu regain ground against two other Chinese Internet giants, Alibaba and Tencent, which were quicker to add mobile capabilities.
The deal may also advance the fight against digital piracy of mobile apps, which remains widespread in China. In the rest of the world, most mobile applications are distributed through official outlets like Google Play or Apple’s App Store. But in China, dozens of so-called alternative app stores are the dominant distributors.
Many of the applications available for download through the alternative stores are unauthorized knockoffs. Baidu will get two of the alternative stores, HiMarket and 91 Assistant, as part of its deal with 91 Wireless. And analysts say Baidu could be motivated to crack down on unauthorized copies, which would alter the landscape of China’s app market.
“It’s fair to say that it has not been a priority among Chinese app stores to police the content,” said Carl-Johan Skoeld, director of Stenvall Skoeld & Company, a consulting firm in Shanghai that works with app developers.