Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba.com and Intel plan to jointly develop a computer designed to get small and medium-sized Chinese businesses online, the companies said this week.
The planned computer, the first step in a broader alliance between the two companies, will come with Alibaba's e-commerce applications preinstalled and use Intel components, according to a joint statement (in Chinese).
The statement did not detail which Intel components would be used in the PC, but one likely candidate is the company's upcoming Atom processor, due to be launched next month. Formerly called Diamondville, Atom was designed for low-cost laptops but will also be used in a crop of low-cost desktops. These desktops, which Intel calls nettops, are basic systems designed to be inexpensive and used for Internet applications, a description that neatly fits the announced objectives of Intel and Alibaba.
Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request seeking details on expected pricing and availability.
Alibaba, which is 40 percent owned by Yahoo, is an e-commerce giant in China. Its flagship site, Alibaba.com, matches foreign buyers with Chinese exporters. For many small Chinese manufacturers, the site is the easiest way to access a global market for their products.
Alibaba also owns Taobao.com, the most popular auction site in China. Besides consumer auctions, Taobao is also widely used by small businesses to reach a wider domestic market for their products through auctions and online storefronts.