Alibaba eyes US buys for expansion

By Rishaad Salamat and Mark Lee (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-12 15:03
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HONG KONG - Ltd, the Chinese e-commerce operator partly owned by billionaire George Soros, is seeking to buy more US companies to expand its overseas business, Chief Executive Officer David Wei said.

Alibaba eyes US buys for expansion
Renovation work being carried out at the People's Bank of China in Beijing on Wednesday. Nelson Ching / Bloomberg 

"The United States is the top priority in our investment list," Wei said in Hong Kong on Wednesday. In terms of users, Alibaba counts the US as its biggest market outside China, Wei said.

Alibaba, used by Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Procter & Gamble Co to purchase goods, this year started an e-commerce site aimed at the US market, and last month completed its first acquisition in the world's biggest economy.

Wei said his company isn't trying to be in direct competition with Inc and EBay Inc.

"We go to help merchants on EBay and Amazon to improve their profit," Wei said. "So far, we have no ambition to serve consumers in the US."

The Chinese company last month completed its acquisition of San Mateo, California-based Vendio Services Inc to boost its overseas business, Wei said. The purchase is part of the $100 million that Alibaba has set aside for investment in its AliExpress website, which is aimed at US online merchants.

Quarterly profit

Alibaba on Tuesday said second-quarter profit rose 46 percent to 363 million yuan ($53.6 million) as a rebound in Chinese exports boosted product listings on its website. That beat the 298.8 million yuan average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Alibaba added more than 51,000 customers for the China TrustPass program for marketing on its China website, the company said in its earnings statement yesterday. It also gained 5,100 subscribers for its export-oriented China Gold Supplier program.

It'll be "two to three years" before the AliExpress service is expected to contribute significantly to Alibaba's earnings, Wei said.

Parent Alibaba Group Holding Ltd this week reached an agreement to invest in Inc's search-engine business, ranked by research company iResearch Inc. as the third-biggest in China behind Baidu Inc and Google Inc.

The closely held parent company, whose biggest shareholder is Yahoo! Inc, also operates other Internet businesses including, China's largest online retailing site, and Yahoo's China website.

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