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Alibaba launches US shopping website

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-06-2014 AFP

Shanghai: China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd has launched an American shopping website, a report said on Wednesday, 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.com Inc. and eBay Inc., 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%, 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 Stores Inc., the report said.

Separately, Alibaba announced its third deal in a week on Wednesday, saying it will absorb mobile browser developer UCWeb Inc. 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 $15 billion, putting it on a par with Facebook’s $16 billion initial public offering in 2012.

On Tuesday, the company unveiled an agreement with state-backed Shanghai Media Group to develop an entertainment platform and last Thursday said it will pay $192 million for a 50% stake in China’s top football club, Evergrande.

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