BEIJING – China’s top search engine Baidu is planning to buy the app store 91 Wireless for $1.9 billion in order to gain a bigger share in the very competitive mobile sector, Reuters reports.
After the acquisition, Baidu will hold 57.4% of the shares of one of China’s earliest app stores, taking control from NetDragon Websoft Inc.
“It is good for Baidu because if you look at mobile, currently apps are more popular than mobile sites because Internet download speeds are slow. So with the acquisition of this apps store, Baidu can work more closely with the apps developer and be able to enhance further their search capabilities”, Elinor Leung, an analyst in Hong Kong, told Reuters.
According to Bloomberg, this deal puts China’s most popular third-Party appstore for smartphones in a market where hundreds of companies offer mobile softwares. In the US, Apple Inc. and Google Inc. dominate the sales of content using their very own operating systems.
As of March 31st Baidu accounted for 82% of computer searches in China, while its mobile app had only 9% of the 1.16 billion wireless subscribers.