The FT reports today that Alibaba, the Chinese business-to-business search giant, has made its first move to acquire a serious foothold in the US following years of sabre rattling, by buying Vendio.com – an e-commerce platform which allows you to share your inventory with Ebay, Google, Shopzilla and Amazon. Figures for the acquisition were not released, other than Alibaba declaring that the acquisition was part of its $100 million investment programme.
Whilst Alibaba has done no acquiring in the US, it’s been busy in its domestic region by linking up with Softbank to link its Chinese Taobao platform with Yahoo Japan through a partnership with Softbank. Misleadingly the FT says that Yahoo Japan is ‘owned’ by Softbank and seems to have omitted reference to Yahoo’s co-ownership. The FT also describes Alibaba as a “Yellow Pages” site – but it’s much more of a ‘business dating’ platform.
Alibaba hopes the acquisition will bring increasing numbers of small US businesses to Alibaba when they are looking for suppliers or partners – especially from the Asia-Pacific region.
The FT quotes David Wei, Alibaba Chief Executive as saying, “We continue to look for synergies and investment opportunities to grow our customer base, acquire additional technology and add new applications that will help our customer base grow and prosper”.
The message of the acquisition is quite clear – Alibaba is finally moving in on the US!
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