Alibaba Group Holding Ltd – an investor in taobao.com, mainland China’s largest online shopping portal – is to join with Handnice Group in backing a Chinese digital sports data company to the tune of US$1.5 million.
The recipient firm, LeidaSports, which provides sports data information and betting services, will merge with another Chinese operator, a digital application called Sports Craze, according to a press release issued on Tuesday on behalf of LeidaSports. According to the same release, Sports Craze claims more than five million active users.
Under the new operating arrangement, LeidaSports and Sports Craze will collaborate to supply “sports data and various content to sports content providers” across China.
Data will come via LeidaSports’ existing partnership with sports and betting-related data company Sportradar AG, a multinational corporation with headquarters in St Gallen, Switzerland.
Kai Sun, co-founder of LeidaSports, said in a press release: “The two sides will develop rich sporting data and games based on European football and basketball leagues.”
Wang Guozhou, investment manager at Alibaba Group, added in the statement: “We are very proud be part of Leida Group/Sports Craze. Alibaba Group, together with Ali Sports, will set up a strategic partnership with Leida through its subsidiaries such as Alibaba Lottery, U.C. Web and Alipay.”
The release said that in September 2015, Alibaba Group secured a collaboration with media corporation Sina and private equity firm Yunfeng Capital to establish Ali Sports, with the goal of investing in the Chinese sports industry. In November, Alibaba then agreed a deal to acquire Chinese video streaming firm Youku to support the project.
Alibaba Group is also in the process of taking a majority stake in AGTech Holdings Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed operator in the China lottery market.
The Chinese authorities are mulling partially lifting the current ban on online sales of state lottery products, according to a report this week in the Chinese business newspaper The Economic Observer, which quoted as a source for the story a person it didn’t name.
According to the same newspaper, in 2014 – the year prior to the suspension of online sales of state lottery products – such product purchases generated RMB85 billion (US$13.1 billion).
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