Alibaba taps Taobao for international expansion

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma says the consumer-to-consumer marketplace will be available worldwide in multiple languages.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

Chinese shopping site Taobao could soon be available to shoppers worldwide. YouTube screenshot by CNET

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant that has taken Wall Street by storm, is planning to make waves in other markets.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said Thursday the company plans to create an international version of its online marketplace Taobao, Reuters reported. Ma, who made the comment during a meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Internet industry leaders, said the site will serve shoppers worldwide and be available in multiple languages, including English, according to Reuters. It is unclear when the international launch will occur.

Alibaba's plans for expansion are no surprise. The company raised $21.8 billion in a record breaking US initial public offering in September and was widely expected to use the funds to grow overseas, eventually going toe-to-toe with e-commerce leaders Amazon and eBay.

Taobao is a crucial component in Alibaba's operation. Launched in 2003 in China, Taobao is a consumer-to-consumer marketplace similar to eBay -- the site actually managed to push eBay out of business in China.

In addition to Taobao, Alibaba owns and operates a handful of e-commerce related businesses. Most notable are TMall, a shopping hub for brands like Apple and Gap to sell directly to customers.; Juhuasuan.com, a daily-deals site; and Aliyun.com, a cloud-computing service. In the US, Alibaba recently launched 11 Main, an invite-only boutique shopping site.

Investors appeared excited by the news, as Alibaba shares are up $3.50, or 3.2 percent, to $112.32.

Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.