Alibaba Group Establishes US Investment Arm

Hangzhou-based Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group says it has established a U.S. investment arm focused on investing in entrepreneurial teams working on innovative platforms, products and ideas with a focus on Internet commerce and emerging technologies, according to a company announcement.

Alibaba did not disclose the size of the fund, or where it raised its investment capital.

The investment arm will be led by Michael Zeisser, who will assume the role of chairman of U.S. investments for Alibaba Group. Zeisser is formerly senior vice president of U.S. media company Liberty Media Corp.

Other team members include Peter Stern, a senior banker from the technology, media and telecoms M&A team at Credit Suisse who advised Alibaba on the landmark US$7.6 billion stock repurchase from Yahoo in 2012.

The team will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

"The (U.S.) team has been active over the past several months and we have already completed a few investments in the U.S. by partnering with terrific entrepreneurial teams,” says Joe Tsai, executive vice chairman of Alibaba and head of Alibaba’s strategic investments.

Alibaba’s U.S. investment team has already invested in three companies. They are Fanatics, an online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise; ShopRunner, a platform for top retailers providing free two-day shipping to online shoppers; and Quixey, a mobile app search engine.

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