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Brief Published: 30 Apr 2013

Alibaba Buys Stake in Weibo


China’s biggest e-commerce company Alibaba has bought an 18% stake in the country’s most popular micro-blogging platform, Sina Weibo.

The deal, worth $586m, is Alibaba’s first big move into selling advertising on China’s social networks. It is expected to help Alibaba drive traffic from Weibo – China’s equivalent to Twitter – over to Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace.

The two companies said the partnership would generate up to $380m in advertising and social commerce revenues over the next three years.

"We believe that this strategic alliance helps to create a stronger Weibo,” said Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba. “It affirms our view of the vitality and importance of social media in unleashing value in e-commerce activities.”

The news comes as growth in China’s internet market shows no slowing, with the country’s total online sales expected to reach $356.1bn by 2016.  As the market matures social commerce is seen as a key driver of future revenue.