Alibaba Buys Israeli AR Startup Amid China Investment Scrutiny – Bloomberg
What happened: Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has acquired Israel augmented reality company InfinityAR, the companies announced on Sunday. Neither disclosed financial details of the deal, but Alibaba could pay more than $10 million, according to an estimate from the market source cited by Globes. In 2016, Alibaba together with Japanese company Sun has invested $15 million and $3 million respectively for a combined 22% share of the startup.
Why it’s important: Alibaba has been picking up the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) boom since 2016, when the rise of AR and VR was in full swing. In addition to InfinityAR, Alibaba led $800 million investment in Magic Leap that year. Alibaba’s acquisition of InfinityAR is in line with the company’s efforts to drive the concept of “shoppertainment” in China, a trend which providing users with a fun, interactive and entertaining experience. It also takes place during a time of heightened scrutiny over the role of Chinese investment in Israel.