Alibaba digs 'deep' in mobile search deal, calling it critical piece

Updated: 2014-10-21 11:37

By Lian Zi in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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Alibaba believes search is crucial to its mobile strategy, which is why the Chinese e-commerce giant picked application-search company Quixey to power that function on its mobile operating system.

"Search is a critical piece of the whole mobile strategy that we've been putting together," said Wang Jian, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. "It's what we had in mind when we invested. This is to define the future of mobile search in China."

E-commerce transactions from mobile devices accounted for one-third of Alibaba's transaction volume during the quarter ended June 30, compared with 12 percent in the previous year's quarter.

Quixey, a tech startup in Mountain View, Calfornia, that bills itself as "The Search Engine For Apps", announced on Oct 17 that it will power app search and deep search for YunOS, Alibaba's mobile operating system.

The news came at the Aliyun Worldwide Developer Conference in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. Quixey also launched a worldwide developer program in China, the first step in establishing aglobal network of developers to bring deep search to apps and users.

Mobile-phone applications have become key to finding information on the Internet, but most mobile search is still driven by app names and keywords.

"There are millions of apps, with millions of functionalities and billions of pieces of content, and people have no idea what's out there," said Tomer Kagan, CEO of Quixey, in comments emailed to China Daily. "As a user, I don't want to pick an app to search. I should be able to search all my apps from the same place every time. That's what we're bringing to YunOS.

"With AppURL as the official deep-linking standard in China, Quixey allows developers to deeply connect apps across devices and makes content discoverable," Kagan said.

Alibaba, with participation from GGV Capital, had already invested $50 million in Quixey's Series C round of financing.

Hans Tung, managing partner of GGV, believes that mobile search has entered a new era. Users should not have to open every app to search for information, he said.

Wang Xiao, CEO of Innospring, a California-based technology incubator, said the collaboration opens the Chinese market to US startups and also satisfies a search need for Chinese customers.

(China Daily USA 10/21/2014 page1)