Alibaba.com, one of the leading e-commerce websites in China, has announced a major investment in online classifieds site Koubei.com. Just over two years old, Koubei, whose name means “word of mouth,” provides localized classified listings and discussion forums that let people share information about apartments, restaurants, entertainment, jobs, and other location-based points of interest. Each city has its own custom-tailored Koubei.com site.
“Community-based classified listings are an essential part of e-commerce,” said Tian Jian, Alibaba’s investment VP in a statement. “Besides buying and selling products online, people want a marketplace to trade services and share information about service providers. With our investment in Koubei, we’re partnering with the team that pioneered the online classified marketplace in China and opening up another channel to grow our existing e-commerce community of more than 40 million consumers and businesses in China.”
Jian is part of Alibaba’s new investment and acquisition group, which was formed to help develop emerging online businesses that can interact with Alibaba’s core e-commerce business. The exact financial terms of the investment deal were not disclosed.