Alibaba Group Acquires Kanbox, A Personal Cloud Storage Service

Chinese Internet giant Alibaba Group has acquired Kanbox, the personal cloud storage service sometimes referred to as “the Dropbox of China.” This marks Alibaba Group’s first personal cloud storage acquisition as the company focuses on expanding its range of consumer-focused cloud computing products. The acquisition price was undisclosed.

Launched in early 2011, Kanbox raised a Series B round of $20 million that year led by DCM with SIG China participating. Kanbox has more than 15 million users who use the service to upload, download and sync files through their devices. About 20% of users access Kanbox through their mobile devices and Alibaba could use it to build a service similar to Apple’s iCloud, enabling customers to access their content and media across different platforms. This will increase the reach of Alibaba’s mobile ecosystem, which centers on the Alibaba Mobile Operating System (AMOS), and help it market products like Alibaba’s smart TV, which it launched with Internet TV services provider Wasu Media in June. Alibaba said that it also plans to enable users to back up their mobile data, including contacts and text messages, through Kanbox.

Alibaba has focused on expanding its cloud computing products since launching the Alibaba Cloud Computing unit in 2009.

“Personal cloud storage will be a fundamental service for mobile users in the future and will serve as an important touch-point to reach a wider user population,” said Florence Shih, an Alibaba Group spokeswoman, in a statement. “We believe this type of service is synergistic with our existing suite of mobile applications and ecosystem.”