RealTime IT News

Yahoo Heading East?

Online powerhouse Yahoo is reportedly in advanced talks to buy a big chunk of China's largest e-commerce site for $1 billion.

Forbes.com is reporting that the search giant is set to snatch up 35 percent of Alibaba, making the deal the biggest investment ever in China's Internet industry.

The Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba, the so-called 'Chinese eBay' run by English teacher-turned-entrepreneur Jack Ma, operates three popular online marketplaces.

Those outlets are: Alibaba International, an English-language site focused on international trade, with 1 million registered users from more than 200 countries and territories; Alibaba China, which facilitates domestic business-to-business trading, and counts 3.8 million among its registered users; and Taobao, a consumer-to-consumer (C2C) trading site with 2.2 million registered users.

Another report coming out of China from the International Herald Tribune said people familiar with the negotiations believe Softbank is playing an important part in coordinating Yahoo's discussions with Alibaba.

In 2000 Alibaba received $20 million in funding from Softbank and a conglomerate of investors. Softbank also contributed additional capital and resources to develop versions of Alibaba in Japan, Korea and Europe.

Spokespersons for Alibaba.com and Yahoo were not immediately available for comment.