Alibaba affiliate buys its way into China’s lottery market to compete with LeEco and Tencent

Picture from Sina Sports
Picture from Sina Sports

Alibaba has now set its sights on China’s lottery market, with its financial affiliate Ali Fortune becoming a major shareholder of the Hong Kong-listed company Asia Gaming Technologies Limited (AGTech).

Ali Fortune, backed by Alibaba and Ant Financial, spent HDK 2.39 billion (USD 308 million) on AGTech’s shareholder rights last Friday. It bought HKD 1.68 billion worth of of AGTech’s shares and HKD 713 million in convertible bonds, altogether 59.45% of AGTech’s shareholder rights.

AGTech, one of the largest sports lottery terminal manufacturers in China, deals in gaming technology, online and mobile lottery, and lottery management. By joining hands with Alibaba, AGTech will be authorized to run its lottery business on Alibaba’s Taobao and Alipay, and it will be able to take advantage of Alibaba’s expertise in cloud computing and e-commerce.

Alibaba is not the only player – other tech giants are also competing for the burgeoning online lottery market. LeSports, LeEco’s sports subsidiary, announced it will invest USD 100 million in the online lottery platform Zhangyu Caipiao in late February. Baidu is managing its own lottery platform baidu.lecai.com, and so is Tencent, whose platform is named 888.qq.com.

According to Xinhua News, China’s lottery market in 2015 suffered a YoY decrease of 3.8%, failing to achieve its goal of RMB 470 billion, and the government’s suspension of online lottery businesses last February is considered to be a major cause.

The industry may be revitalized this year, with online lottery expected to generate RMB 135 billion (USD 20.69 billion) out of the RMB 500 billion China’s lottery market is expected to generate as a whole, NetEase Tech reports.

International sporting events including the 2016 UEFA European Championship and the Rio Olympic Games may help boost the sports lottery industry this year.

(Top photo from News.cnzz.com)

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