Alibaba has announced US$120 million investment in U.S. game developer Kabam. While many would count it as part of its foray into the U.S., what’s surprising to many Chinese is the company is entering into gaming in such a big way. Many years back, Jack Ma, then-CEO of Alibaba, reportedly said in public that his company would rather starve than tap into gaming, for he didn’t want his son to play games, and it would hurt China’s future if kids were encouraged to do so. Some Alibaba employees would confirm that Mr. Ma had said something similar in private.

China media immediately began to mock Mr. Ma when Alibaba launched a mobile gaming platform, take revenue shares from third-party games, at the start of this year. Many mobile games, including US-made Dots, would be added onto it. Kabam promises to contribute 10 games on Alibaba’s platform in the next three years, according to the announcement.

Earlier this month (July) the company rolled out a plug-and-play game platform for connected TVs that games from overseas developers, including EA, Gameloft, and Glue Mogile, are available.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com