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Alibaba opens up coffers for eBay listing service

Second US buy

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Chinese auction house Alibaba is expanding its US presence by grabbing Auctiva - the Californian firm which makes tools for business users of eBay.

Auctiva's listing tools for eBay to make it easier for small firms to run their online auctions. It claims 170,000 active users.

The Chinese company said the deal made it the world's first global online supply chain - giving small firms instant access to Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers.

Alibaba will integrate Auctiva into AliExpress, its wholesale platform, but it will keep its brand name and operate as a separate unit.

Alibaba made its first US purchase in June when it bought Vendio, another eBay listings provider. The two firms together give Alibaba an extra 250,000 customers.

Financial terms were not released but the buy is part of Alibaba's $100m investment in AliExpress.

Auctiva was started in 1998 by Jeff Schlicht - a software developer and keen user of the online tat bazaar. He wrote the software to automate his own listings - supposedly mostly lumps of coal from the Titanic.

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