Alibaba acquires Yahoo China
Alibaba.com, China's largest e-commerce website, announced here Thursday that it has signed an agreement with Yahoo Inc. to acquire Yahoo China.
The package of Yahoo China's assets includes Yahoo's search technology, the Yahoo China website, its communication and advertising business, as well as 3721.com, a Chinese language search engine.
Alibaba also obtained 1 billion US dollars of investment from Yahoo as well the exclusive right of using the Yahoo brand.
In return, Yahoo will take 40 percent of Alibaba's shares but have 35 percent of voting rights in the company. Ma Yun, CEO of Alibaba, will retain his post in the new company.
At Thursday's press conference, Ma denied that his company made the deal with Yahoo in a bid to prepare for going public, saying that the one-billion-dollar investment from Yahoo will be spent on the development of searching engines.
As the second largest Internet market in the world, China has over 103 million netizens. A report from Beijing-based Analysis International estimated that China's e-commerce market will reach 620 billion RMB (76.5 billion US dollars) in 2005.
"Future e-commerce will depend on on-line searching and Alibaba's goal next year is to give Chinese people access to world-level searching engine," said Ma.
He said Alibaba and Yahoo will aim at creating search engines more powerful than Google's.
The new Alibaba Company will have four seats on its board - two from Alibaba, one from Yahoo and one from SoftBank, a major investor of Alibaba.
Alibaba, a Hong Kong-headquartered company founded at the end of 1998, has become the world's largest online trading market.
Yahoo runs 24 websites in 12 languages globally. Yahoo's website in China was launched in September 1999.