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Apple to Purchase Chinese Game Developer Handseeing?

We're really not quite sure to make of this one, but Chinese SinoCast Daily Business Beat is reporting that Apple is preparing to purchase Handseeing Information Technology, a Chinese game developer focused on Rich Internet Applications (RIAs).

As US-based Apple Inc. is close to making the purchase of Handseeing Information Technology Co., Ltd., a mobile Internet service provider and a mobile game developer in China, for as much as USD 150 billion, the emergence of more potential buyers has added to the uncertainty of the deal.

Apple's plan to take over the Chinese company underscores its mounting interests in China's potentially huge mobile Internet sector, which has been basically ignored by it for a long time.

The "USD 150 billion" figure appears to be a typographical error, however, as, beyond the fact that it would be an unreasonable purchase price for such a company, other figures given in the report discussing outside investments in the company lead to a figure in the range of $150 million instead of $150 billion.

Apple's potential reason for interest in Handseeing is unclear, although the company does seem to have some expertise in Java-based online gaming technologies. The company touts its partnership with Sun Microsystems, a relationship that Sun profiled (PDF) as Handseeing helped deploy new Java-based RIAs for Tianya Online, a social community centered around online gaming in China that has reportedly become one of the country's largest social networking forums.

A separate report from just a month ago indicated that Apple's manufacturing partner Foxconn was planning to acquire Handseeing.