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Alibaba launches US shopping website: report

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 17:25

Shanghai: China`s e-commerce giant Alibaba has launched an American shopping website, a report said today, as the company continues a deal binge ahead of a widely anticipated US listing.

The online marketplace 11 Main, which hosts more than 1,000 merchants selling products ranging from clothing and interior goods to arts and crafts, will help Alibaba compete with Amazon and eBay, Dow Jones Newswires reported.

The company plans to add other sales categories, charge as little as half the commission of other venues at 3.5 per cent, and screen merchants for the quality of their goods and service, it added.

"Of course we would love to be an everyday shopping destination," 11 Main President Mike Effle was quoted as saying.

Still it is joining a crowded landscape with big players like Amazon, startups such as Etsy and traditional retailers with an online presence like Wal-Mart, the report said.

Separately, Alibaba announced its third deal in a week on today, saying it will absorb mobile browser developer UCWeb in what it called the "biggest" merger in the country`s Internet industry.

The firm has stepped up acquisitions to expand beyond its traditional online shopping business ahead of a planned US listing that could raise around USD 15 billion, putting it on a par with Facebook`s USD 16 billion IPO in 2012.

Yesterday, the company unveiled an agreement with state-backed Shanghai Media Group to develop an entertainment platform and last Thursday said it will pay USD 192 million for a 50 per cent stake in China`s top football club, Evergrande.

Alibaba will take the one-third stake in UCWeb that it does not already own, it said in a statement.

"UC will be fully integrated into Alibaba Group. This integration will be the biggest merger in the history of China`s Internet industry," Alibaba said, but gave no value for the deal.

UCWeb chief executive Yu Yongfu said the deal would value his company at more than USD 1.9 billion, according to a company memo posted online.

First Published: Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 17:25

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