iNVEZZ.com, Monday, December 22: China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) is rumoured to be preparing to launch a game console aimed at its home market, in its latest effort to expand beyond its core e-commerce business. Citing a report from market researcher Niko Partners, technology blog VentureBeat today said that the company was designing a high-end game console to compete with Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4 in the People’s Republic.
Niko Partners managing director Lisa Cosmas Hanson attributed the information to a “credible source”, who said that Alibaba might release the console next year. However, the information is to be taken with a pinch of salt as Cosmas Hanson hasn’t been able to independently confirm the rumour. Furthermore, VentureBeat said that it hadn’t been able to verify the rumour as fact. Still, the blog described Niko Partners as “a good source of information” and added that two other sources, including the chief executive officer of a Chinese game company, had confirmed that they had independently heard the same rumour as Cosmas Hanson. Alibaba has declined to comment on the matter.
If the report is accurate and Alibaba is making its own game console, it could mean that China’s video games landscape is poised for a further shake-up. The country lifted a 15-year old ban on game consoles earlier this year, allowing console manufacturers to tap into the market. Microsoft launched the Xbox One in the country in September, while Sony announced today that it would debut its PS4 system on January 11.
In today’s trading, Alibaba shares were down 0.6 percent at $110.00 as of 14:45 UTC. The company’s stock has advanced 17.1 percent since its trading debut in September.