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Alibaba eyes IPO with Wasu Media stake

Xinhua, April 10, 2014 Adjust font size:

Alibaba has continued acquisitions that sharpen its cutting edge ahead of an expected initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

Hangzhou Yunxi Investment Partnership Enterprise has bought 20 percent stake in Wasu Media Holdings Co. Ltd for 6.5 billion yuan (about 1 billion U.S. dollars), a Wasu statement said on Tuesday evening. The Yunxi company is owned by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Shi Yuzhu, founder of Giant Interactive Group Inc. and Simon Xie, co-founder of Alibaba.

Alibaba and Wasu Digital TV Media Group, dominant shareholders in Wasu Media Holding Co. Ltd, signed a strategic cooperation agreement on Tuesday, according to a statement delivered to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Capital raised will be used to develop original content and expand Wasu's Internet TV terminals.

Wasu Media stock climbed by the 10 percent daily limit shortly after opening on Wednesday morning on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

China's leading Internet companies, including Alibaba's rivals Tencent and Baidu, have started acquiring mobile application developers and online video platforms to access opportunities through smartphones, tablets and Internet TV screens.

Alibaba, keen to expand out of its core online retail business, has expanded its reach to include shopping malls, home appliances, mapping services and financial services through a series of acquisitions in the past year.

Jack Ma will pay 3.3 billion yuan to take a controlling share of financial software firm Hundsun Technologies Inc., part of his masterplan to reshape China's financial service sector, according to a Hundsun Technologies statement earlier this month.

On March 31, Alibaba announced it will pay 692 million U.S. dollars for a 26-percent stake of Hong Kong-listed department store operator Intime Retail Group Co., which was managing 28 department stores and 8 shopping malls in China by the end of last year.

Also in March, Alibaba announced it will partner Chinese electronics goods maker Midea Group to develop smart products across Midea's range from air conditioners to washing machines and refrigerators.

"Alibaba's recent investments are still a multi-access strategy," said Hu Yanping, founder of Data Center of China Internet.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center, China had about 500 million mobile Internet users, 81 percent of all web users, as of the end of 2013.

Alibaba announced last month that it has decided to begin its IPO process in the United States.

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