Reports in local media have emerged in local media that Alibaba Group is to acquire ZTEsoft, the telecoms software subsidiary of ZTE, for between RMB 2 to 3 billion ($294 to 441 million) to bolster its cloud computing abilities.

The reports are yet to be confirmed by Alibaba or ZTEsoft, though apparently the companies have been in discussion for several months and are approaching an agreement.

ZTEsoft (中兴软创) specializes in telecommunications software including both business support systems (BSS) and operational support systems (OSS, together referred to as B/OSS) used for mobile networks and has branched into workforce management software and smart city and smart transport projects. The company has collaborated worldwide including projects in France, India and the Netherlands.

The  acquisition of ZTEsoft would be only the latest in a string of purchases for Alibab. The  company still lags behind Tencent, not just for this year but for the past five years, according to a report in South China Morning Post. Since 2012 Alibaba has spent $41.9 billion across 72 deals, compared to $62.5 billion on 75 deals by Tencent. For 2017, as of May this year, Alibaba’s acquisitions had reached $4 billion.

Alibaba’s acquisitions are spread widely across sectors that are more broadly connected to its core interests, allowing room for ever further expansion.

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Frank Hersey

Frank Hersey is a Beijing-based tech reporter who's been coming to China since 2001. He tries to go beyond the headlines to explain the context and impact of developments in China's tech sector. Get in...

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