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Alibaba To Challenge Android, iPhone iOS With Mobile OS

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is rumoured to be working on its own mobile phone operating system according to an anonymous source close to the project.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a dedicated unit called Alibaba Cloud Computing, is developing the platform that it aims to release in the third quarter of 2011.

The move will pit it directly against Google's Android, Apple iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone mobile platforms and will also include a raft of mobile, cloud-based services.

Alibaba's mobile OS will be launched in China first, and given that no official announcement has been made, the company may choose to launch it in other markets as well.

The platform may also be actively marketed by the company to the growing number of mobile phone and CE companies that sell their gear via Alibaba.

The news comes after another major Chinese technology firm, search engine giant Baidu, revealed that it has plans to build a lightweight mobile operating system, called Qiushi, with the goal of allowing users to search on a mobile phone within one second.

Many believe that Chinese firms are looking to reduce their dependency on foreign tech companies like Microsoft, Intel and Google and foster the growth of local startups instead.