E-commerce giant Alibaba has agreed to acquire one of China’s largest app stores, Wandoujia, according to a social media post made by the app store’s founder on Tuesday.

“We officially announce that [Wandoujia] and Alibaba Group signed a formal merger agreement. The Wandoujia distribution business will be integrated into the mobile business group of Alibaba.” said Wang Junyu, founder and CEO of Wandoujia.

Wandoujia shares some core early investors with Alibaba, including Softbank and Goldman Sachs. Prior to the deal with Alibaba, Softbank was the biggest shareholder in the app store, whose name literally means “Snap Pea.”

Wandoujia the seventh largest app store in China, according to a ranking released in 2015 by Chinese games and marketing research company Newzoo. While the store held only about 6% of the market at the time of the ranking, it represents the largest app store in China not affiliated with a major mobile brand or tech industry giant.

“Wandoujia’s distribution business will continue to remain independent in the future, and become the strongest Android application distribution business under the Alibaba Group brand name,” said Mr Wang.

Technode reached out to Alibaba to confirm the details of the deal but did not receive a response at the time of publishing. We will update with any further information.

According to an Alibaba statement cited by state media outlet China Daily, the deal is worth around $200 million USD. If the number is accurate, it’s a significant devaluation for the app store, which was valued at $1 billion USD during their previous round of funding led by Softbank in 2014.

With Google Play still banned in China, the country has a fragmented market of app stores, including major players backed by Tencent, Baidu, Xiaomi, Huawei and Qihoo 360.

Technode has reached out to Alibaba but they have not responded at the time of publishing, we will update with any further information.

Image Credit: Wandoujia

Cate Cadell

Cate is a tech writer. She worked as a journalist in Australia, Mongolia and Myanmar. You can reach her (in Chinese or English) at: @catecadell or catecadell@technode.com

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