Privately-run Chinese wireless firm mInfo.com has acquired Guanxi SMS, an English-language mobile search service in China, for an undisclosed amount of money.
"Adding Guanxi to the mInfo family is all about value creation for our users and customers," said Alvin Wang Graylin, CEO of mInfo. "By combining forces, we are solidifying mInfo’s lead in the marketplace and expanding mInfo’s reach into hundreds of thousands of high-valued expatriate users and thousands of partner merchants around the country."
There are other wireless search services in China used by foreigners. One of the earliest is the mobile-enabled directory service run by ChinaPulse.com at mobile.chinapulse.com, which covers over 40 different Chinese cities, providing foreigners with ready access to hotels, restaurants, hospitals, and emergency services. That service started in 2001. And the Xianzai.com AvantGo service is perhaps the earliest, with its unveiling at the beginning of 2000. A problem is that with limited numbers of foreigners in China, and very little revenue earned by wireless value-added service firms, making money via these services is difficult.
Since its founding in 2005, mInfo says it has extended itself to over three dozen life oriented mobile search services and has expanded geographical coverage to 59 of the largest cities throughout China. As a benefit of this transaction, Guanxi will now have a new unified SMS code of 95882929 across all four mobile carriers in China.
"We are truly excited about this deal with mInfo," said Kirk Jobsz, CEO, Mailman Media Group. "We’ve been the leader in English mobile search in China since 2002 and always had aspirations to offer much more. Now with the backing of mInfo we can realize Guanxi’s true potential. It’s definitely a win-win for both companies as well as for our current users and advertisers."