Baidu buys app distributor for $1.9 billion in largest Chinese Internet takeover, ever

Chinese search giant Baidu has announced the biggest Internet company takeover in the nation’s history, purchasing Android app distributor 91 Wireless.

The company will pay $1.9 billion for the company, which should help them keep market share against rivals like Tencent, Alibaba and Qihoo.

91 Wireless is majority owned by gaming firm NetDragon, and NetDragon has been actively exploring spinning off the subsidiary. 91 owns community websites, is the largest third-party app distribution platform in China and also offers e-reader software and customized launch screens for handsets.

The company was able to get so big in China due to Google’s limitations in the nation. The official Google Play store is open for business in China, but does not carry paid apps.

There are an estimated 750 million smartphone users in China, with Android making up a majority.