Softbank Invests in China's Alibaba as "Next Yahoo!"
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China-based Alibaba.com, a global trade sourcing Web site, announced Tuesday that it has received US$20 million funding from a Softbank-led syndicate of investors.
In addition to the funding, Softbank says that it will contribute additional capital and resources to develop versions of Alibaba in Japan, Korea and Europe.
"We would like to make Alibaba the next Yahoo!," said Masayoshi Son, Softbank Corp's president and CEO. "I think this will probably be the first Chinese initiative Internet company which will become the global brand, the global success in a big way. I am very excited to make that happen."
According to Alibaba representatives, the trading site has signed up over 100,000 members from 180 countries. The company plans to use to the cash injection to expand its role as a business-to-busines e-commerce portal.
Alibaba provides a meeting point for global traders but currently does not have a significant source of revenue. The company neither charges its members, nor provides e-commerce transaction solutions, nor offers advertising across its site.
However, according to Ma, Alibaba is examining various options for an e-commerce platform which it plans to setup by the middle of the year.
"Of course, we are developing features that will enable transactions on our site, but we are very mindful that transactions on the Internet must make sense in order for people to use our service," added Ma.
In October, Alibaba received a $5 million in first round funding from a Goldman Sachs-led group of investors. The company's other investors also include Transpac Capital, Fidelity Capital, Singapore's Venture TDF Pte Ltd, and Sweden's Investor AB.