Alibaba Group Holdings is venturing into sports.
The Chinese e-commerce giant recently announced that it has teamed up with Handnice Group to invest $1.5 million in a China-based digital sports data company, GGRAsia reported
The company is called LeidaSports, and it provides information—mainly sports data—as well as betting services. LeidaSports plans to merge with digital application operator, Sports Craze, a Chinese company that claims to have more than five million active users, according to the report, which quoted a press release.
Under the partnership, LeidaSports and Sports Craze will supply “sports data and various content to sports content providers” across China, using data from sports and betting-related data company Sportradar AG, which has an existing partnership with LeidaSports.
“The two sides will develop rich sporting data and games based on European football and basketball leagues,” LeidaSports co-founder Kai Sun said in a statement.
Wang Guozhou, investment manager at Alibaba Group, said the partnership will be made via Alibaba’s subsidiaries such as Alibaba Lottery, UC Web and Alipay.
Alibaba’s investment on LeidaSports is the e-commerce company’s latest effort to establish a gaming footprint in China. Last year, the company teamed up with media corporation Sina and private equity firm Yunfeng Capital to establish Ali Sports. Two months later, Alibaba agreed to acquire Chinese video streaming company Youku to support its project of investing in the Chinese sports industry.
Then several weeks ago, Alibaba said it has taken a controlling stake in Hong Kong-based lottery technology provider AGTech Holdings, which has a well-established presence in China’s lottery business. AGTech supplies technology to land-based sports and welfare lottery retailers in 80 percent of China’s provinces, but it has yet to offer online and mobile lottery products.
Alibaba ran a lucrative online lottery business via its Taobao shopping site, which reportedly accounted for 11% of all online lottery sales in China. The company was forced to halt its lottery activity last March following Beijing’s ‘temporary’ suspension of online sales, which was prompted by the discovery of widespread corruption at provincial lottery administration centers.