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Friday, August 12, 2005
 

The Yahoo! Dynasty expands into China

Yahoo!, said it would pay $1bn in cash for a stake in Alibaba.com, boosting its presence in China's booming internet industry. The company plans to merge its China subsidiaries into Alibaba as part of the deal.
"We look at this as an opportunity to get much bigger much faster, working with a great management team."
Yahoo! now owns a 40% stake in Alibaba and will become its largest strategic investor. The alliance creates China's biggest internet company, with activities including search engines, online bill payment services and consumer e-commerce. Alibaba also operates an online auction business, and laid down a challenge yesterday to the dominance of eBay. Yahoo! should gain a 43% share of the Chinese online auction market from the deal, bringing it close to eBay's 50% share. Yahoo!'s acquisition marks the growing interest in the technology sector towards China, which has about 100 million internet users - second only to the US. China is expected to become the world's largest internet market within the next five years, and valuations of Chinese online businesses have been soaring in recent months. The $1bn paid by Yahoo! is the largest stake invested by a foreign company in a Chinese internet business. The deal will transform Yahoo!'s business in China. It bought the Chinese search engine, 3721, in 2003 for $120m, but has so far failed to make significant inroads in the local market. Alibaba has 14 million users and reported sales of $46m last year. Jack Ma will remain as chief executive and will run the combined operations. The company's major shareholder is Japan's Softbank, which sold shares to Yahoo!. The market for online auctions is still in its relative infancy in China, with only 12 million Chinese using websites to transact goods. This figure is expected to swell to 35 million over the next two years, and Alibaba, whose online auction Taobao.com anticipates a sales' growth at an annual rate of 80% in the next three years. It also has B2B auction sites that help small enterprises buy and sell goods and export products to international markets. Advertisers and companies pay up to $10,000 a year for membership of the scheme. Alibaba was founded in 1999 an has 2,300 employees based in Hangzhou, south of Shanghai. Softbank Shares Surge on Sale of China Online Venture - Heady daze for dotcom rise in East - Telegraph.co.uk - Business World - Independent - China Daily

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