China's Alibaba to pass Amazon, eBay in transaction value: executive

HANGZHOU, China Sat Sep 8, 2012 9:51am IST

An employee walks past a logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co. Ltd during a media tour organised by government officials at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province June 20, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

An employee walks past a logo of Alibaba (China) Technology Co. Ltd during a media tour organised by government officials at its headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province June 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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HANGZHOU, China (Reuters) - China's largest e-commerce firm, Alibaba Group, expects to sell merchandise this year worth more than that sold by Amazon Inc and eBay combined, Alibaba's chief strategy officer said on Saturday.

The company is aiming for 3 trillion yuan ($473 billion) in annual transaction value from its Taobao e-commerce units in the next 5 to 7 years, Zeng Ming told reporters.

Alibaba's founder, Jack Ma, said last year that Taobao's transaction value for 2012 would reach 1 trillion yuan. The company has not said what percentage of online sales come from Taobao, but it is the crown jewel of the Alibaba Group and its profit engine.

"From their annual reports we did a rough calculation and we were similar last year but we are growing faster than them this year, so this year we are probably larger than them," Zeng said of Amazon and eBay, America's top online retailer and auction site.

"The gap is just going to get bigger and bigger when we grow faster," he said.

In May, Alibaba ended more than two years of often fractious negotiations with Yahoo Inc to buy back much of a stake held by the U.S. web giant and, crucially, reduce the voting power of foreign stakeholders including Yahoo and Japan's Softbank Corp.

As part of the deal with Yahoo, there are incentives for Alibaba to list its shares by December 2015. The company has said there is no timetable for a listing. This year, Alibaba took its Alibaba.com unit private.

(Reporting by Melanie Lee; Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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