Alibaba.com continues to expand the range of services it offers to members of its B2B trading website, this time through the acquisition of a controlling stake in a small Chinese provider of export services. The deal with Shenzhen One-Touch Enterprise Service allows Alibaba.com to offer its paying Gold Supplier members easier access to a range of trade-related services such as assistance with customs procedures, cargo handling and insurance. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Most of Alibaba.com’s revenues come from subscription fees paid by Chinese suppliers who use the Internet platform to find buyers overseas. Although the company recently announced its paid users now total more than 1 million, subscriber growth rates are expected to slow, and Alibaba.com is trying to diversify its income sources by offering Chinese SMEs more tools for running their businesses, an initiative it calls “Work at Alibaba.” The Shenzhen company “will bring a lot of synergy to our business and enhance our members’ user experience by reducing the time and money they spend managing their export procedures,” said Alibaba.com CEO David Wei in a statement. Alibaba.com in the past year has also acquired Alisoft, a “software-as-a-service” provider; Hi-China, an Internet infrastructure services company; and Vendio and Auctiva, two leading U.S. providers of e-commerce solutions for online merchants. Among other “value-added services,” Alibaba.com offers members e-commerce training and access to small-business loans.
While still in its early stages, Alibaba.com’s bid to broaden its revenue base appears to be gaining traction. In a financial statement released last week, the company said third-quarter profit rose 55 percent as customers paid for more advertising and trade-related services. A stock analyst at Shenyin Wanguo Securities in Shanghai told Bloomberg.com that revenue from services such as keyword advertising, logistics, and customer training may make up more than 20 percent of Alibaba.com sales this year, compared with 10 percent in 2009.