Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Alibaba's latest acquisition heightens focus on U.S. market has acquired Auctiva, a U.S.-based auction management software vendor which has worked closely with eBay in the past. Auctiva provides a variety of tools which allow users to post, market and manage their online auction listings.

This acquisition follows Alibaba's purchase of Vendio, another U.S. firm, in June. Vendio also provides online selling tools to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Alibaba stated that the Vendio and Auctiva deals are expected to bring 250,000 potential new customers to the company.The deal is part of Alibaba's AliExpress initiative - a wholesale e-commerce platform which targets smaller orders.

This deal once again reinforces the fact that Alibaba and Global Sources are competing less and less as differing corporate strategies leave the two firms with shrinking overlap. Global Sources is focused on big buyer sourcing and Alibaba is (in their own words) building an online ecosystem designed to serve SMEs.

With its increasing U.S.-focus and portfolio of online selling platforms (, Taobao, Alipay, Vendio and Auctiva) Alibaba looks like a far a greater threat eBay than to Global Sources. For Hong Kong-based Global Sources, the biggest ongoing challenge stemming from Alibaba will be to effectively explain to its potential clients (primarily Asian manufacturers) the reason for the premium price placed on marketing on Global Sources' platform vs.

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