Umeng, the analytics provider that has collected data from 180,000 apps and 590 million active devices throughout China, confirmed that it was acquired by Alibaba.
The company is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Chinese e-commerce giant, which is reportedly on its way toward one of the most highly anticipated tech IPOs of this decade.
Linda Jiang, who heads business development for the startup, didn’t disclose the value of the deal. It was rumored back in the spring to be worth $70 to $80 million. The company picked up $10 million in funding from Matrix Partners’ China arm after being incubated out of Kai-Fu Lee’s Innovation Works.
Culturally, the Umeng deal makes sense as Alibaba is a very data-centric company and Umeng has troves of it. After the deal, Umeng will operate as an independent subsidiary. They plan to build out their existing suite of services for developers including services like push notification management and a social SDK for handling identity.
The deal comes during a wave of China-related mobile acquisitions, with Baidu’s $1.9 billion deal to buy Android app distributor 91.com earlier this year.
Companies like Baidu and Alibaba are trying to prove their mettle and that they can ride the transition from web to mobile platforms effectively. In many cases, they’ve decided to buy and not build.
Earlier this year, Alibaba took a stake in Sina Weibo, the Twitter-like microblogging platform that irrevocably transformed online public discourse in mainland China. They also invested $294 million into China’s largest mapping company, AutoNavi Holdings Ltd.
The company’s Alipay product, which is China’s biggest third-party payment platform, has been an invaluable asset in powering peer-to-peer transactions and purchases of digital goods in mobile apps.
But Alibaba has also had less than successful mobile efforts. To fend off the rising power of China’s social networking giant Tencent and its dominant messaging app Weixin, Alibaba recently released its own contender, Laiwang. They’ve also tried to build their own Linux-based smartphone OS called Aliyun, but it’s been hard to see if the platform has seen much progress since last year.
Below is one of Umeng’s quarterly reports, which shows off the kind of data the startup has access to: