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In yet another sign that e-commerce giant Alibaba has its sights fixed firmly on the U.S. market, the company announced this morning that it was establishing an “investment organization” in the United States.
The target is right down Alibaba’s strike zone: “innovative platforms, products and ideas with a focus on Internet commerce and emerging technologies.”
This of course follows Alibaba’s recent leading of a $206 million funding round in Amazon.com competitor ShopRunner just two weeks ago, and just a week after speculation that the China-based company was preparing for an initial public offering that would value the company at $110 billion, likely on a U.S. exchange.
“Alibaba is run by entrepreneurs, and we believe in supporting entrepreneurs with great vision and a strong sense of mission for their companies,” Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba and head of Alibaba’s strategic investments, said in a statement. “We are extremely excited to have someone of Michael’s caliber and experience to lead our investment efforts in the U.S. The team has been active over the past several months and we have already completed a few investments in the U.S. by partnering with terrific entrepreneurial teams.”
Besides ShopRunner, Alibaba has recently invested in Fanatics, the self-styled “leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise,” and Quixey, which develops search technology for in-app content.
Alibaba is primarily Tmall, which managed e-commerce for thousands of brands in China, and Taobao Marketplace, an eBay-like auction site. The company facilitated the purchase over $3 billion worth of goods in a single day last year, and in 2012, Alibaba moved $157 billion in gross merchandise volume — or 1 trillion RMB — making it likely the biggest e-commerce company on the planet.
The company is growing at a projected 61 percent in 2013. Yahoo still owns 24 percent of the company.
Amazon and eBay: watch out!