Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has just spent $590 million for a minority stake in Chinese smartphone maker Meizu. The deal opens up more hardware for the company's custom YunOS for mobile phones, while granting Meizu access to Alibaba's vast online distribution network. The deal marks a renewed focus on hardware and mobile platform growth for the incredibly popular e-commerce giant, as well as a much-needed avenue for growth for the fledgling smartphone marker Meizu. Meizu, based in Zhuhai, Guangdong, has 1,000 employees and makes smartphones mainly for the Chinese market, such as the recently reviewed MX4. However, the company's estimated less than 2 percent market share pales in comparison to other more established players in their region, such as Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo.