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Alibaba leads $206M financing in Amazon rival ShopRunner

Chinese e-commerce giant contributed most of the funds in the deal, which values the e-commerce startup at $600 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Alibaba Group, China's largest e-commerce company, has led a $206 million investment in Amazon rival ShopRunner.

ShopRunner, which describes itself as a network of merchants that have banded together to deliver "multichannel shopping services" to consumers, offers unlimited two-day shipping on products from retailers such as Toys R Us, American Eagle, MacMall, and Newegg for a $79 annual fee. American Express, which had previously partnered with the e-commerce site on membership promotions, took a small stake in ShopRunner, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Alibaba contributed most of the funding, but it wasn't immediately clear exactly how much that was, the Journal reported. As part of the deal, which values ShopRunner at $600 million, eBay sold its 30 percent stake at a profit, the newspaper reported.

The 3-year-old e-commerce site is run by former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson, who abruptly left the Web company last year after a Yahoo investor group discovered that his resume listed a computer science degree that he doesn't actually hold. Before joining Yahoo, Thompson served as president of eBay-owned payments service PayPal.

Although ShopRunner is small compared with Amazon, the investment gives Alibaba a local toehold in a market dominated by Amazon at a time when the Chinese e-commerce giant is reportedly exploring the possibility of going public in the United States.