Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce company that became the biggest online retailer on the planet last year, has invested most of a massive new $206 million funding round in ShopRunner, a rival to

As part of the deal, eBay sold its 30 percent stake in ShopRunner for a profit, the Wall Street Journal says.

ShopRunner, which offers free two-day shipping on products from thousands of brands, which essentially have their own company store on the service, should be familiar territory for Alibaba. It’s an extremely similar business model to its Tmall service in China, which manages e-commerce operations for thousands of companies in China.

Alibaba CEO Jonathan Lu

Above: Alibaba CEO Jonathan Lu

Image Credit: Alibaba

Last year, Alibaba sold or managed the sale of a staggering $157 billion worth of merchandise, including $3 billion on just one day. Yahoo still owns about a quarter of the company, which Marissa Mayer has said she would consider selling to finance Yahoo’s ongoing return to Silicon Valley relevance.

Brands such as American Eagle, Anne Klein, Brooks Brothers, Domino’s, ESPN, GNC, and major league sport such as MLB and the NBA rely on ShopRunner to manage their ecommerce operations. For a $79 fee — not unlike Amazon Prime — ShopRunner promises free two-day shipping, free returns, and no minimum order size.

The deal has to be putting Amazon on alert since although Amazon is the big Kahuna in U.S. ecommerce, Alibaba is a very significant global competitor, and ShopRunner is a very significant local challenger, with close ties to key brands that Amazon needs in order to remain in its position as the preeminent online retailer in America.

Alibaba had previously invested about $70 million in the funding round, but put more money in, according to reports, ultimately culminating in the $206 million investment that values the ecommerce company at about $600 million.

Alibaba is currently considering an IPO.

More information:, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection., Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where cu... read more »

Yahoo! is the premier digital media company. Founded in 1994 by Stanford PhD candidates David Filo and Jerry Yang as a way for them to keep track of their personal interests on the Internet, Yahoo! has grown into a company that helps p... read more » is a B2B e-commerce company. Alibaba’s primary business is to serve as a directory of Chinese manufacturers connecting them to other companies around the world looking for suppliers. According to iResearch, it was the lar... read more »

Scott Thompson is an American businessman, and currently CEO of ShopRunner. Previously he was formerly CEO of Yahoo!. Before taking up this role he served as president of PayPal with overall responsibility for growing the global leader... read more »

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